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Ohio bald eagles test positive for bird flu; 3 bird deaths reported in state

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said three birds, including two bald eagles and a herring gull, have died and since testing positive for bird flu.

The “highly pathogenic avian influenza” was detected in the birds from northwest Ohio after testing at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

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“The Division of Wildlife is working closely with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other state and federal agencies to monitor HPAI,” ODNR said in a statement. “The virus does not present an immediate public health concern but avoid handling sick or dead birds as a precaution.”

The USDA considers the version of bird flu discovered in Ohio as a serious disease and requires rapid response because it is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens, according to the agency.

The herring gull was confirmed to be positive for the virus on Mar. 9 in Erie County and the bald eagles were confirmed to have the virus in Ottawa County on Mar. 11 and Mar. 15.

ODNR said there are additional tests that are still pending.

Ohioans can report sick or dead wild birds at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or on wildohio.gov.

ODNR says the following birds should be reported:

• Any raptor, such as a bald eagle.

• Multiple waterfowl, such as geese or ducks.

• Any other large congregation of sick or dead birds.

The virus is transmitted from bird to bird through feeding and other interactions.