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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza raises concerns in Montana

Posted at 8:55 AM, Apr 21, 2022

BOZEMAN - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks recently announced that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been detected in Montana.

FWP's Morgan Jacobsen said HPAI was found in two waterfowl in southwest Montana. Jacobsen says the disease is highly contagious and can affect domestic birds as well as wild birds.

The news of the two wild birds with the disease follows news of domestic flocks in Montana also detecting the disease.

The Montana Department of Livestock announced on Friday, April 8, 2022, confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in two Montana flocks. These are the first cases of HPAI reported in domestic poultry in Montana since 2015. Montana is the 25th state to report cases of HPAI in domestic poultry in 2022.

The agency said in a news release that one of the flocks is a backyard flock in Judith Basin County and the other is a small layer and meat-bird operation in Cascade County. The flocks were reported to MDOL following increased rates of mortality and were confirmed to have the HPAI H5 strain associated with the outbreak occurring in other parts of the country.

He says anyone finding a dead wild bird should contact the FWP Lab at (406) 577-7880. If someone is concerned about domestic fowl like chickens, he says they should contact the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Chickens and turkeys are susceptible to catching Avian Influenza. The concern is that the worry is that waterfowl such as geese and ducks may also carry the disease without showing symptoms.