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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and its federal partners are working together to monitor for the presence of avian influenza in Iowa’s wild birds

Davenport, IOWA – According to the state officials, avian influenza is a highly transmissible, naturally occurring disease often found in certain waterfowl and shorebirds.

Officials have announced that there are various strains of the disease ranging from strains causing no harm to domestic poultry to strains that are lethal.

Avian influenza can exist in a deceased bird for several weeks, depending upon environmental conditions.

The state wildlife veterinarian with the Iowa Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Rachel Ruden, released the following statement:

“Bird loss in the wild is a natural occurrence, so seeing one dead bird shouldn’t be cause for alarm, but if someone is finding a number of dead birds, especially ducks, geese or raptors, we want to know about it.

We are encouraging the public not to handle sick or dead birds or to take sick birds to a wildlife rehabilitator to avoid unintentionally spreading avian influenza in the event that the bird is positive.”

Avian influenza’s impact on upland birds, like wild turkeys, is much less, because of the behaviors and preferred habitats make them less likely to encounter the disease in the wild.

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