Wild fox in Minnesota tests positive for highly contagious avian influenza

A wild fox from Anoka County has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in a wild mammal in Minnesota. The DNR says it was confirmed earlier this week.

Last week, two red fox kits in Ontario, Canada tested positive for HPAI. Those kits were the first reported cases of the current HPAI outbreak in a wild mammal in North America. The Minnesota fox also was a kit.

This year’s HPAI strain is more aggressive and has caused more deaths amongst domestic poultry and wild birds than the previous strain in 2015.

"Testing in Minnesota has confirmed HPAI in nearly 200 wild birds, including 19 species of birds, primarily waterfowl and raptors," said Michelle Carstensen, the DNR’s wildlife health program supervisor.

The DNR is coordinating bird sampling efforts with U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Raptor Center, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, Wild and Free, and other wildlife rehabilitation centers.

Minnesotans who find sick or dead waterfowl and raptors — which are the wildlife most affected by HPAI — should contact the DNR to file a report. Learn more about what kind of reports the DNR needs for monitoring purposes, its response to the avian influenza outbreak, and contact information on the DNR website (mndnr.gov/AI).