North Dakota Game and Fish Department keeping close eye on Avian Influenza and Chronic Wasting Disease cases

Courtesy: North Dakota Game and Fish Department
Courtesy: North Dakota Game and Fish Department

(Bismarck, ND) --  State officials are reminding domestic poultry owners and hunters to be vigilant as two prominent diseases are still working their way through several animal species.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says transmission of Avian Influenza in wild and domestic bird populations, along with Chronic Wasting Disease in deer populations, is continuing to circulate through flocks and herds in the state. However, there are some changes that have been occurring in recent years.

Avian Influenza

North Dakota Game and Fish Veterinarian Charlie Bahson says there is good news regarding Avian Bird Flu regarding case numbers. He says they are seeing nowhere near the number of cases being reported to the agency and its counterparts in comparison to 2022, a time when he says people were reporting that birds "were literally falling out of the sky". saying besides a domestic turkey flock that was culled April 17th, only a handful of cases of snow geese and various other birds are birds have either tested positive or have tests pending for the disease to determine their cause of death.

Bahson says there are several ways domestic poultry farmers can help prevent the spread of Avian Influenza; including separating wild and domestic flocks whenever possible during times of increased disease spread, cleaning clothing and tools regularly used with the animals, and to contact their local animal veterans for additional resources both before, during, and after an outbreak occurs. 

You can learn more about Avian Influenza by clicking here.

Chronic Wasting Disease

A disease that can take a year-and-a-half or more to show symptoms, CWD is a fatal disease in deer that takes a long time to show up but symptoms quickly show up once they arrive. Infected deer will suddenly begin to develop brain disease, loose interest in eating, and eventually pass away. Deer pass CWD to others via bodily fluids, and can transmit the disease even when symptoms are not present. One of the big concerns with CWD is the degenerative nature of the brain disease, which makes the challenging winter conditions harder to survive when cognitive processes become damaged impaired. The disease can show impacts on deer populations if methods are not used to combat transmission. 

Bahson says there are two main areas where CWD infected deer tend to reside. This is largely in the Northwestern and South Central portions of North Dakota. However, there are known cases of deer infected with CWD being found between Grand Forks and Fargo on the Minnesota side, an area that typically does not have infected populations. Once an area is infected with CWD, experts say it is incredibly difficult to remove the disease from local populations, as the prions tend to survive for several years even outside of the deer. 

You can learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease by clicking here



Original Air Date: 
Friday, April 28, 2023