H5N1 Avian influenza detected in a red fox in Unalaska

    Avian influenza viruses do not usually infect humans; however, several instances of human infections and outbreaks have been reported since 1997. (Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Office of the State Veterinarian, has confirmed the detection of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus H5N1 in the state.

    The strain has been found in a red fox and eagles from Unalaska.

    In the past month, HPAI has been detected in red foxes in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario in areas where the virus was also detected in wild birds.

    According to the state, it was not unexpected when HPAI was detected in a red fox from Unalaska, where the virus was also detected in bald eagles. Most likely foxes become infected from feeding on deceased birds.

    No cases of the H5N1 avian influenza strain have been identified in any other domestic or wild mammals, but dogs and cats may be susceptible to it. Pet owners should prevent their pets from contact with dead wildlife, including birds.


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