Bird flu detected in more birds in Cascade County

chicken

Bird flu has been confirmed in more bids in Cascade County.

In April, highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, was detected in a commercial poultry flock in Cascade County. The exposed birds were culled and disposed of, according to the City-County Health Department.

Since then, bird flu has been confirmed in wild or feral geese, a duck and a great horned owl located in or near Great Falls, according to CCHD.

The virus can jump to humans typically after close and prolonged contact with infected birds or the excretions/secretions of infected birds, according to CCHD.

Bird flu confirmed in Cascade, Judith Basin counties

“Human infection is rare and no human infections in Montana have been detected at this time. Montanans should nevertheless avoid handling wild birds and take precautions when handling game birds,” according to CCHD.

Poultry producers should monitor their flocks for sudden onset of illness or sudden death. Common symptoms include swollen eyes, discolored comb or legs, significant drop in egg production, and significant reduction of water or feed consumption, according to CCHD.

The following precautionary measures, according to CCHD, should be implemented:

  • prevent contact between wild or migratory birds and domestic poultry, including access by wild birds to feed and water sources;
  • house birds indoors to the extent possible to limit exposure to wild or migratory birds and limit visitor access to areas where birds are housed;
  • use dedicated clothing and protective footwear when caring for domestic poultry;
  • immediately isolate sick domestic animals and contact your veterinarian or the Montana Department of Livestock at 406-444-2976;
  • do not touch or handle wild birds or carcasses. Investigation of mortality events in wild birds offers wildlife professionals the best opportunity to detect HPAI, and sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 406-577-7880;
  • If you must come into contact with birds, maintain good handwashing and other sanitization practices and utilize appropriate personal protective equipment.

Additional information on HPAI may be found at: