Baby fox tests positive for BIRD FLU in Minnesota, officials reveal

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A baby fox has tested positive for bird flu H5N1 in Minnesota, state officials revealed Wednesday, in the first case reported in a wild mammal in America.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources said the fox kit was found outside a fox den and unable to use its hind legs in Anoka County, near Minneapolis.

It was taken care of by a family to be taken to a wildlife sanctuary the next morning, but it died overnight in their care.

Michelle Carstensen, the leader of the state’s wildlife health group, told DailyMail.com that the fox likely contracted the virus after eating an infected wild waterfowl or domestic poultry that had the virus from a nearby farm.

The family picked up the fox nearly three weeks ago to take to a nearby wildlife sanctuary, state health officials said. Only one person who has had contact with the fox is tested for bird flu out of ‘abundance of caution’.

Following the case, foxes are now also being tested for bird flu in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and New York, she said. Two were infected with bird flu in Ontario, Canada, last week.

The case highlights the risk of spreading bird flu from domestic poultry to other mammals and humans.

Last month, a Colorado prison inmate became the first human to test positive for H5N1 after helping to euthanize an infected flock on a poultry farm. The person was isolated with ‘very mild’ symptoms and is believed to have made a full recovery.

America is facing one of the worst bird flu outbreaks on record this year, with more than 24 million chickens and turkeys already culled — raising the price of meat and eggs across the country.

SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid – may have initially jumped on humans from an animal species such as bats, although some theories suggest it may have been leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.

A baby fox has tested positive for bird flu in Minnesota.  State officials said the animal was wild and lived in Anoka County, near the capital Minneapolis.  (Stock Image: There is no suggestion that the foxes pictured above have tested positive for bird flu)

A baby fox has tested positive for bird flu in Minnesota. State officials said the animal was wild and lived in Anoka County, near the capital Minneapolis. (Stock Image: There is no suggestion that the foxes pictured above have tested positive for bird flu)

The above map shows the provinces that have reported bird flu cases so far this year (highlighted in purple).  America has already had to kill more than 24 million chickens and turkeys

The above map shows the provinces that have reported bird flu cases so far this year (highlighted in purple).  America has already had to kill more than 24 million chickens and turkeys

The above map shows the provinces that have reported bird flu cases so far this year (highlighted in purple). America has already had to kill more than 24 million chickens and turkeys

Carstensen told DailyMail.com: ‘The fox was found with neurological symptoms, he could not walk properly with his hind legs.

“The family planned to put it in a box because it was late at night and going to a rehab center in the morning. But the animal died overnight.’

Asked where it could have gotten the virus, she said: ‘The most common would be what it fed, and since it’s a scavenger species, there’s a plethora of available dead things for it…so most likely a waterfowl carcass.

“But it’s possible it came from a domestic poultry stock nearby. We have had a lot of raptor deaths because of this.

“It’s very possible it could have even been in a local chicken coop.”

What is bird flu?

Avian flu, also known as bird flu, is an infectious disease in birds caused by a variant of the standard influenza A virus.

Avian flu is unique in that it can be transmitted directly from birds to humans.

There are 15 different strains of the virus. It is the H5N1 strain that infects humans and causes high death rates.

Humans can contract bird flu directly from close contact with live infected birds and those who work with infected chickens are most at risk.

She added: ‘I would like to remind people not to pick up sick or dead animals. It is much better to call someone to come and help you than to cause a possible illness.’

The department brought the fox cub in for routine rabies testing because it had been in contact with humans.

But they’ve also taken it off for bird flu, after the cases reported in Canada. This smear came back positive.

An autopsy on the fox revealed that he also had lesions in the brain, which were likely caused by severe pneumonia.

State officials believe the animal contracted the virus because it was young and had a still-developing immune system, unlike older individuals.

dr. Joni Scheftel, a state veterinarian in Minnesota, said on Wednesday: “Wild animals can sometimes transmit disease to humans.

“While we usually consider rabies or other known diseases to be the main concerns, this shows that there are other risks to keep in mind as well.

“The best advice we have for Minnesotans is to avoid contact with wildlife who appear to be sick or injured and contact your healthcare provider if you have been bitten or have close contact with wildlife.”

The state said it would now begin testing all sick animals for bird flu, in addition to typical illnesses, such as rabies and distemper.

To date, Minnesota has detected nearly 200 cases of bird flu in the wild in 19 species, primarily waterfowl and birds of prey.

Bird flu raised concern in the late 2000s after it was found that more than 60 percent of people who contracted the virus died.

But scientists say a recent mutation in the virus means there are now several new strains that are far less deadly to humans.

America faces one of its worst bird flu outbreaks in years with more than 24 million chickens and turkeys culled because of the virus (stock image)

America faces one of its worst bird flu outbreaks in years with more than 24 million chickens and turkeys culled because of the virus (stock image)

America faces one of its worst bird flu outbreaks in years with more than 24 million chickens and turkeys culled because of the virus (stock image)

The US last month confirmed the first case of human bird flu in a man in Colorado, which was also the second case in the world. The only reported symptom was ‘feeling tired for several days’.

Colorado’s Department of Agriculture said the man — who has not been named — tested negative on repeated mops. But he and ten others he worked with were all placed in isolation as a precaution for fear of spreading the virus.

The first case of bird flu was discovered in the UK in December 2021 in a man who was asymptomatic and shared his home with his poultry.

The individual recovered after only mild illness, but his birds all had to be culled.

This year’s bird flu outbreak is one of the worst on record, with the strain capable of infecting all birds, including chickens, ducks and even zoo animals.

Several US zoos have had to lock down their ostriches and even penguins because of the disease – denying them access to the outdoors for fear of contracting the virus.

Avian flu is spread through close contact or through the droppings of migrating waterfowl – such as geese, ducks and shorebirds – and is more often more likely to infect free-range chickens and indoor caged birds.

In 2015, the US had another bird flu epidemic that wiped out about 50 million chickens costing the industry billions.

A virus that kills up to 50% of people… but transmission is rare: everything you need to know about bird flu

What is bird flu?

Avian flu, or bird flu, is a contagious flu that spreads among bird species, but in rare cases can spread to humans.

Like the human flu, there are many types of bird flu:

The current outbreak in birds in the US is H5N1, among other strains, which infected a prison inmate in Colorado.

Where has it been spotted in the US?

There are currently 15 states reporting bird flu cases among their poultry. These are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota.

One case was also discovered in an inmate who worked on a Colorado poultry farm.

How deadly is the virus?

The death rate from bird flu in humans is estimated at 50 percent.

But because transmission to humans is so rare, about 500 deaths from bird flu have been reported to the World Health Organization since 1997.

Is it transferable from birds to humans?

Cases of bird-to-human transmission are rare and usually do not spread from person to person.

Avian flu is spread through close contact with an infected bird or the body of a bird.

This can be:

  • touching infected birds
  • touching feces or bedding
  • killing or preparing infected poultry for cooking

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, England, said: ‘Transmission of bird flu to humans is rare because direct contact between an infected, usually dead, bird and the affected individual is necessary.

“It is a risk to handlers tasked with disposing of carcasses after an outbreak, but the virus is not widespread and poses little threat.

“It’s not behaving like the seasonal flu we’re used to.

“Despite the current heightened concern about viruses, there is no risk to chicken meat or eggs and no public alarm is needed.”

What are the symptoms?

Bird flu symptoms usually take three to five days to appear, with the most common being:

  • a very high temperature
  • whether it feels hot or shivering
  • sore muscles
  • headache
  • a cough or shortness of breath

.