Grizzly bears test positive for bird flu in Montana, officials say

Grizzly bears test positive for bird flu in Montana, officials say

Grizzly bears take a look at constructive for hen flu in Montana, officers say


Three grizzlies have been euthanized in Montana after falling in poor health and testing constructive for the extremely pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI), in accordance with the state Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

These had been the primary documented circumstances of hen flu in a Montana grizzly bear and the primary nationwide for this HPAI outbreak, in accordance with division wildlife veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Ramsey.

The juvenile bears had been at three separate places within the western a part of the state through the fall, the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks mentioned in a press release.

The bears “had been noticed to be in poor situation and exhibited disorientation and partial blindness, amongst different neurological points,” the assertion mentioned. “They had been euthanized attributable to their sickness and poor situation.”

Chook flu – generally often called hen flu – is a naturally occurring virus that spreads quickly amongst birds. There have been documented circumstances of HPAI in a skunk and a fox in Montana final 12 months, 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 spreads from hen to hen,” Dr. Ramsey advised CNN through electronic mail. “These mammals seemingly turned contaminated by consuming carcasses of HPAI-infected birds.”

“Happily, in contrast to avian circumstances, typically small numbers of mammalian circumstances have been reported in North America,” Ramsey mentioned. “Right now, we proceed to check any bears that present neurological signs or whose explanation for dying is unknown.”

Though the invention of three grizzly bears with hen flu in a short while might elevate considerations, Ramsey mentioned there might properly have been extra circumstances which have gone undetected.

“When wildlife mortalities happen in such small numbers or in people, and in species like skunks, foxes and bears that do not spend a lot time in conditions the place they’re extremely seen to the general public, they are often tough to detect,” the wildlife veterinarian mentioned.

“Once you get that first detection, you have a tendency to start out trying more durable and also you’re extra more likely to discover new circumstances,” she mentioned. “When a lot of birds are discovered lifeless on a physique of water, it’s observed and reported…when somebody sees a lifeless skunk they might not give it some thought and report it.”

Though it isn’t identified how widespread the virus is in wild birds, “we do know that the virus is lively primarily statewide because of the broad distribution of HPAI fatalities in some species of birds. ‘wild birds,’ Ramsey mentioned.

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

Human infections with avian influenza are uncommon however are potential, “often after shut contact with contaminated birds. The present danger to most people from avian influenza viruses is low,” the CDC states on its web site.

The Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks asks individuals to report any birds or animals performing “uncommon or unexplained circumstances of sickness and/or dying.”


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