CARSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN)—A skunk recovered from Carson County it is the first confirmed case of bird flu in Texas in a mammal.
The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) this week confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a striped skunk recovered from North Texas County.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, HPAI is a highly contagious virus that is easily transmitted between wild and domesticated birds and is found in every U.S. state except Hawaii. The virus can spread directly between animals and indirectly through environmental contamination.
For mammals, current data show that transmission occurs primarily through consumption of infected animal carcasses, although mammal-to-mammal transmission does not appear sustainable, TPWD said in a news release.
TPWD said other mammalian species susceptible to HPAI include foxes, raccoons, bobcats, opossums, mountain lions and black bears.
Symptoms may include incoordination and stumbling, shaking, seizures, lack of fear of people, lethargy, coughing and sneezing, or sudden death.
Due to the ease of transmission, TPWD recommends that wildlife rehabilitators also remain cautious when taking in wild animals with clinical signs consistent with HPAI and consider placing animals in quarantine to limit the potential for HPAI exposure to others animals inside the structure.
The risk of avian flu transmission from infected birds to people is low, but TPWD said the public should take basic protective measures, such as wearing gloves, face masks and washing hands, if contact cannot be avoided. with wild animals.
Those who spot wildlife with HPAI compatible markings should contact their local TPWD wildlife biologist immediately.