Grizzly bears take a look at optimistic for chook flu in Montana, officers say

Grizzly bears take a look at optimistic for chook flu in Montana, officers say

Grizzly bears take a look at optimistic for chook flu in Montana, officers say


Three grizzly bears have been euthanized in Montana after they turned unwell and examined optimistic for the extremely pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, in accordance with the state’s Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

These have been the primary documented instances of chook flu in a grizzly in Montana and the primary nationwide for this outbreak of HPAI, in accordance with Dr. Jennifer Ramsey, the division’s wildlife veterinarian.

The juvenile bears have been in three separate areas within the western a part of the state throughout the fall, the Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks mentioned in a press release.

The bears “have been noticed to be in poor situation and exhibited disorientation and partial blindness, amongst different neurological points,” the assertion mentioned. “They have been euthanized as a consequence of their illness and poor situation.”

Avian influenza – generally known as chook flu – is a naturally occurring virus that spreads rapidly in birds. There have been documented instances of HPAI in a skunk and a fox in Montana final yr, and the virus has been seen in raccoons, black bears and a coyote in different states and nations, in accordance with the Montana company.

“The virus is unfold from one chook to a different,” Dr. Ramsey instructed CNN through electronic mail. “These mammals seemingly acquired contaminated from consuming carcasses of HPAI contaminated birds.”

“Fortuitously, not like avian instances, typically small numbers of mammal instances have been reported in North America,” Ramsey mentioned. “For now, we’re persevering with to check any bears that display neurologic signs or for which a reason for loss of life is unknown.”

Whereas discovering three grizzlies with chook flu in a brief time frame might increase issues, Ramsey mentioned it could be that there have been extra instances that haven’t been detected.

“When wildlife mortalities happen in such small numbers or people, and in species like skunks, foxes and bears that don’t spend loads of time in conditions the place they’re extremely seen to the general public, they are often onerous to detect,” the wildlife veterinarian mentioned.

“While you get that first detection you have a tendency to begin trying tougher, and also you’re extra more likely to discover new instances,” she mentioned. “When a lot of birds are discovered useless on a physique of water, it will get seen and reported… when somebody sees a useless skunk, they could assume nothing of it and never report it.”

Whereas it’s unknown simply how prevalent the virus is in wild birds, “we all know that the virus is lively mainly throughout the whole state as a result of extensive distribution of instances of HPAI mortality in some species of untamed birds,” Ramsey mentioned.

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned in November the nation was approaching “a record number of birds affected in comparison with earlier chook flu outbreaks,” with greater than 49 million birds in 46 states dying or being killed as a consequence of publicity to contaminated birds.

Human infections with chook flu are uncommon however are possible“often after shut contact with contaminated birds. The present threat to most of the people from chook flu viruses is low,” the CDC says on its web site.

The Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking folks to report any birds or animals performing “uncommon or unexplained instances of illness and/or loss of life.”

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