Avian Flu Hits Montana Again, Killing at Least 50 Chickens
Just days after avian influenza was diagnosed in a domesticated gyrfalcon in the Flathead, authorities are reporting that chickens in the Judith Basin have been hit as well.
"This is a small flock, it was less than 100 birds in total," said Montana Department of Livestock Assistant State Veterinarian Tahnee Szymansk. "They lost about 50 chickens to the virus and then the remaining numbers, because of the presence of that virus on their property, will be required to be depopulated, to make sure that we are not allowing that virus to spread any further."
The Judith Basin is far away from the Flathead, and the birds are not likely to have mingled. Right now the Department of Livestock believes that migratory birds are bringing Avian flu into Montana. Geese are a prime suspect.
All bird owners are asked to be on guard.
"If there is any potential contact with migratory water fowl, or migratory wild birds, we want to make sure that we are trying to limit that contact and exposure," Tahnee warned. "The virus is spread through respiratory secretions and droppings. If they have an increase in death loss, or are seeing an increase of dead chickens in their flock, we would like them to contact the Department of Livestock."
The avian flu found in Montana is H5N2, and is not a strain that can easilly migrate to humans, however, flu is notoriously quick at evolving. The number to call the Department of Livestock for a report is (406) 444-2043.