Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced that a hunter-harvested mallard duck in Fergus County was sampled by wildlife services and a specific strain of influenza was found. Assistant State Veterinarian Thanee Szymanski says those samples were submitted for testing.

“That testing came back with an H5N2 strain of Avian Influenza which would be consistent with a highly pathogenic strain,” said Szymanski. “It is also coincidentally a narrowly identical match to the outbreak we had in the 2014-2015 in birds across the United States.”

According to Szymanski, no human health issues have been reported for this strain and no illnesses in domestic poultry in Montana have been found.

“We have not had any human illnesses associated with this strain of virus,” Szymanski said. “The risk to people is extremely low. We want to use this as a reminder to poultry owners in the state that that virus is still on the landscape. It doesn’t affect wild birds, but it is something that can make domestic poultry sick.”

Szymanski says at this time, there have been no other detections of avian influenza in Montana.