The following is a press release from the Cascade Municipal Health Department.
Great Falls, Montana — In early April, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly known as avian influenza, was detected in a herd of commercial poultry in Cascade County. Exposed animals were screened and safely disposed of. Since then, HPAI has been identified with some additional birds. The affected birds were wild or wild geese, ducks, and great horned owls, all inhabiting or near the Great Falls.
Human HPAI infections generally occur after close and long-term contact with infected birds, or after excrement / secretion of infected birds. However, human infections are rare and no human infections have been detected in Montana at this time. Nevertheless, Montanan should avoid handling wild birds and be careful when handling hunting birds.
Poultry producers need to monitor their herds for sudden onset of illness or sudden death. Common symptoms include swelling of the eyes, discoloration of the combs and legs, a significant decrease in spawning, and a significant decrease in water and feed consumption.
The following precautions should be taken:
• Prevent contact between wild and migratory birds and poultry, including access to feed and water sources by wild birds.
• Keep birds indoors as much as possible to limit exposure to wild and migratory birds and limit visitor access to areas where birds are kept.
• Use special clothing and protective shoes when caring for poultry.
• Immediately quarantine sick livestock and contact your veterinarian or Montana Livestock Bureau (406-444-2976).
• Do not touch or handle wild birds or carcasses. Investigation of wild bird mortality events provides wildlife experts with the best opportunity to detect HPAI, and diseased or dead wild birds should be reported to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks at 406-577-7880.
• If you need to come into contact with birds, properly maintain hand washing and other disinfection methods and use appropriate personal protective equipment.
For more information on HPAI, see the following URL:
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