Three young bears infected with a highly pathogenic strain of BIRD FLU have been killed in Montana

Three grizzly bear cubs have been killed after they were found suffering from a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu after eating infected animals in Montana.

The state’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the bears were found near the towns of Augusta, Dubwer and Kalispell, which surround the Flathead National Forest.

The three bears were noted to be in poor condition, showing signs of disorientation and partial blindness, among other neurological problems.

The FWP said the animals were culled, while noting that these were the first cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus documented in grizzly bears.

It comes as the infectious strain of bird flu persists in the United States, where the virus has killed more than 43 million chickens, sending egg prices soaring.

Three grizzly bear cubs have been killed when they are found to be infected with the highly pathogenic bird flu virus in Montana

Three grizzly bear cubs have been killed when they are found to be infected with the highly pathogenic bird flu virus in Montana

All three bears were noted to be in poor condition, showing signs of disorientation and partial blindness.  This was the first time the virus had been reported in grizzly bears.  Pictured: a large grizzly roaming Bozeman, Montana

All three bears were noted to be in poor condition, showing signs of disorientation and partial blindness. This was the first time the virus had been reported in grizzly bears. Pictured: a large grizzly roaming Bozeman, Montana

The FWP said the bears likely became infected after eating birds carrying the virus.

While there have been previous reports of black and brown bears contracting bird flu, this was the first case involving bears.

FWP noted that last year, when the new highly pathogenic strain of bird flu hit the nation, fox and skunk tested positive for the virus, and other predators like raccoons and coyotes were infected across the country.

Although bird flu usually peaks in the spring, the disease has persisted through 2023, and is currently active in all 50 states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 57 million chickens across the United States were infected with the virus as of January 11th. The vast majority of infected birds were killed.

Although the risk of humans contracting the virus is relatively low, bird flu can infect those who work directly with infected livestock. The CDC recorded only one case of a person contracting bird flu last year.

In people, the disease can cause fever, cough, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, eye infections, and difficulty breathing.

In bears and other wild mammals, the virus causes neurological problems such as seizures.

While the virus rarely infects humans, people feel the effects of bird flu through their wallets.

The latest government data showed the national median price for a dozen eggs was $3.59 in November, up from $1.72 a year earlier.

The latest government data showed the national median price for a dozen eggs was $3.59 in November, up from $1.72 a year earlier.

Red Star hens feed in their coop on Tuesday at the historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois.  More than 43 million laying hens were slaughtered last year to contain bird flu

Red Star hens feed in their coop on Tuesday at the historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois. More than 43 million laying hens were slaughtered last year to contain bird flu

The latest government data showed the national median price for a dozen eggs was $3.59 in November, up from $1.72 a year earlier. It is likely that prices have gone even higher since then.

The outbreak of avian influenza, combined with higher feed, fuel and labor costs, has more than doubled the price of eggs and caused many sticker shocks to consumers.

If prices continue to be so high, Kelly Fisher, 46, said she will start thinking more seriously about building a chicken coop in her backyard in Chicago because everyone in her family eats eggs.

‘We (with the neighbors) are thinking of building a chicken coop behind our houses,’ said the state school teacher while shopping at HarvesTime Foods, ‘so hopefully in the end I won’t buy it and get my own eggs and I think the cost comes up to that somewhat. On the north side of town.

“For me, it’s more of an environmental impact and trying to buy locally.”

A shopper checks eggs before buying them at a grocery store in Glenview, Illinois on Tuesday.  Anyone who is going to buy a dozen eggs these days will have to be prepared for higher prices

A shopper checks eggs before buying them at a grocery store in Glenview, Illinois on Tuesday. Anyone who is going to buy a dozen eggs these days will have to be prepared for higher prices

In some places it can be hard to find eggs on the shelves, but overall the egg supply is holding up because the total flock is down just 5 percent from its normal size of about 320 million chickens.

Farmers are working to replace their flocks as quickly as possible after an outbreak.

There may be some relief in egg prices in the next couple of months, said Jada Thompson, an agricultural economist at the University of Arkansas because egg farmers have replaced flocks they lost to bird flu last year and demand will decrease a bit now that people are. They finished baking on their holiday.

But she said bird flu was still a wild card that could continue to drive up prices if there were larger outbreaks on egg farms.

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