Avian flu confirmed in Wyoming

WYOMING – Multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been confirmed in different birds in different counties in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has announced two great horned owls in Park County, one Canadian goose in Bighorn County and two Canadian geese from Fremont County have tested positive for the virus. Game and Fish has been monitoring the virus’ presence in wild birds.

Avian influenza was identified by the Wyoming State Veterinarian Laboratory and confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. Game and Fish asks the public to report groups of dead birds to the department.

“We expected to see HPAI in wild birds after it was identified in domestic flocks in Wyoming,” Hank Edwards, Wildlife Health Laboratory supervisor, said. “Game and Fish is relying on reports from the public to learn more about the distribution in our state – especially from hunters and people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Anyone who finds clusters of three or more dead wild birds – waterfowl, grouse, turkeys and raptors – please contact your regional Game and Fish office.”

Wild birds can carry the virus but not appear sick. Some may exhibit signs of neurological impairment or may be found dead with no apparent cause.

HPAI is considered a zoonotic disease, which can infect humans. Game and Fish reminds the public to not touch or handle sick or dead birds and do not allow domestic animals to feed on sick or dead birds.