Monday, January 9, 2017

Diseased Duck: Avian Influenza Found in Montana Waterfowl

A mallard duck in central Montana was found to have been infected with a strain of H5N2 much like that of the outbreak of avian influenza in 2014-2015.  A sample from the infected duck harvested during this last year’s duck season was examined during a routine test and the sample is being further looked at at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.  Though further testing is being conducted, chicken and other domestic birds do not seem to be affected.

Government services, including the US Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and USDA, continue to encourage safe practices when handling and processing waterfowl and other game birds and to keep domestic poultry away from wild birds.  This is because wild birds can act as a sort of hidden reservoir since they do not appear sick, but are actually harboring infection.  In 2014-2015, domestic poultry were found to be infected with H5N1, along with wild birds, in over 20 states where millions of birds died or were killed.  This is a concern not only because it affects the poultry industry, but because avian influenzas can (rarely) infect humans and may mutate to become more adapted to human populations.


- Devon Z.

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