Three grizzly bears in Montana fell ill and were euthanized after testing positive for the highly pathogenic virus. bird-flu (HPAI) according to the Virus, State Fish, Wildlife & Parks Service.
These were the first documented cases of bird flu in Montana’s grizzly bears and were the first nationwide cases of this outbreak of HPAI, according to Dr. Jennifer Ramsey, a wildlife veterinarian for the department.
A statement from the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the cubs were in three separate locations in the western part of the state during the fall.
The bear was “in poor condition and exhibited neurological problems, including disorientation and partial blindness,” the statement said. “They were euthanized due to illness and ill health.”
Bird flu, commonly referred to as bird flu, is a naturally occurring virus that spreads rapidly in birds. There were documented cases of his HPAI infection in skunks and foxes in Montana last year, and the virus has been confirmed in raccoons, black bears and coyotes in other states and countries, according to Montana agencies.
“Viruses are passed from bird to bird,” Dr. Ramsey told CNN in an email. “These mammals may have become infected by eating the carcasses of HPAI-infected birds.”
“Fortunately, unlike avian cases, North America generally reports a small number of mammalian cases.” continue to
The discovery of three grizzly bears with bird flu in a short period of time may be cause for concern, but Ramsey said there may be more undetected cases.
“When wildlife deaths occur in such small numbers or in individuals, and in species such as skunks, foxes, and bears that do not spend a lot of time in situations that are highly visible to the general public, it is difficult to detect them. It can be difficult, said a wildlife veterinarian.
“Once you get the first detection, you tend to start looking more closely, and you’re more likely to find new cases,” she said. , it gets noticed and reported… when someone sees a dead skunk, they may think nothing of it and not report it.”
It is unclear how prevalent the virus is in wild birds, but “the wide distribution of deaths from HPAI in several species of wild birds indicates that the virus is active essentially statewide.” ,” said Ramsey.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in November that the country would ” record number The number of birds affected compared to previous avian flu outbreaks”, with more than 49 million birds in 46 states dying or dying due to exposure to infected birds.
Human infection with avian influenza is rare, but Possible“Usually after close contact with infected birds. The current risk to the general public from bird flu viruses is low,” the CDC says on its website.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking people to report “incidents of unusual or unexplained illness or death” in birds and animals.