Kansas wild bird populations weathering avian influenza

03/25/2015 8:11 PM 03/25/2015 8:11 PM


Wild bird populations in Kansas appear to be unaffected by an outbreak of avian influenza, although one wild goose suspected of having the disease has been tested for it, the state's wildlife disease official said Wednesday.

Those test results from a goose found in Lyon County along the Cottonwood River are not expected for a couple of days, said Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Kansas no longer tests apparently healthy wild populations for the disease because of a lack of funding, he said. But the state has not had any reports of widespread wild bird deaths from avian influenza, and it does not expect game bird populations to decline due to the disease.

"If it mutates and starts killing wild birds, we will hear about it," Hesting said. "And it is possible, but birds live with these viruses for so long that they have an immunity to them. We can simply call them carriers."

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