HEALTH

Two Utah foxes test positive for bird flu in Utah

Jun 9, 2022, 12:05 PM
A red fox. Two red foxes tested positive for bird flu in Utah...
A red fox is pictured. Photo credit: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources confirmed Thursday morning it had found avian flu, commonly known as bird flu, in two foxes. The news comes two weeks after the DWR confirmed the bird flu had spread to five Utah counties.

According to the DWR, a dead red fox was found in Murray in a homeowner’s yard on May 24. A second dead red fox was found in a Taylorsville yard on May 26.

The DWR took both of the foxes for testing at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan.

They also sent samples from the foxes to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa laboratory confirmed that both foxes were positive for avian flu.

“While it does happen, it’s not very common for wildlife species other than birds to get highly pathogenic avian influenza,” DWR Veterinarian Ginger Stout said. “Some states have had one or two cases in wild mammals, but it’s pretty infrequent, and it seems to affect younger animals more often when it does occur.”

The DWR did not find any dead birds near either fox, but it believes the foxes each came into contact or ate a bird that had the virus.

As of June 8, 25 wild birds have tested positive for the bird flu in Utah.

The DWR says that anyone who finds a group of five or more dead waterfowl or shorebirds should not touch them. Instead, report them to the DWR. The advice is the same for anyone who finds any individual dead raptors or scavenger birds.

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Two Utah foxes test positive for bird flu in Utah