Avian influenza also known as bird flu has been in the news a lot lately. Cases have been found in Michigan birds and now in foxes.

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Bird Flu

Peter Garrand Beck/Getty Images
Peter Garrand Beck/Getty Images
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Migrating birds have brought bird flu to the United States and cases have already been found in Michigan. It is very easy for birds to transmit avian influenza and has already hurt the poultry industry from mass chicken and turkey infections where the birds had to be euthanized to protect humans.

Early this year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had recommended that people not fill their bird feeders and to keep chicken and other domestic birds' food in closed areas and not open to other birds being able to fly in and help themselves.

Can Bird Flu Infect Other Animals?

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) eating chicken. Wild life animal.
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The big question is, can bird flu infect other animals? The answer is simple, yes.

Bird flu can infect dogs or cats but the risk is extremely low and rare and has never been reported in the United States.

Can Bird Flu Infect Humans?

Ill man coughing
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According to the CDC, bird flu viruses normally spread through aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry, other birds, and animal species. Bird flu does not normally infect humans but sporadic cases have occurred.

DNR Confirms Bird Flu in Three Fox Kits

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Carlos Carreno/Getty Images
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A fox kit is another way of saying fox pups.

According to FOX 17, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced they have confirmed bird flu in three red fox kits. This isn't the first time a fox has tested positive for bird flu.

Red Fox, vulpes vulpes, Two Young Foxes Fighting, Germany, Europe
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The foxes were not found in West Michigan but located in dens in Lapeer, Macomb, and St. Clair counties on the southeast side of the state.

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KrystyRadek/ Getty Images/500px Prime
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This should be of concern since the first cases of bird flu were detected months ago in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Sandra Standbridge/Getty Images
Sandra Standbridge/Getty Images
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Foxes often feed on mice, other rodents, rabbits, and birds. Eating a bird infected with bird flu is a way to catch it. Plus young fox kits play just like little puppies and could transmit the virus just by playing together.

Close up fox cub in grass
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So far the DNR has found nearly 70 birds that tested positive for bird flu in Michigan.

Brave fox kit stands proudly outside of den
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Hopefully, bird flu cases do not continue to increase and spread to more birds or animals.

If you happen to locate unusually dead birds or abnormal behavior in foxes, coyotes, or even domestic dogs and cats, notify the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517.336.5030.

MORE: Unique Pets You Can Legally Own In Michigan

 

SEE MORE: Animals That Are on Michigan's Endangered Species List