Montana has become the latest state to have a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, as the virus was found in a captive gyrfalcon.

According a press release from the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL), H5N2 avian influenza has been confirmed in a gyrfalcon in Columbia Falls. This makes the first detection of the virus in the state.

The falcon died of unexplained causes, and was sent to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks laboratory. Samples were tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, where the bird tested positive for H5N2 avian influenza.

MDOL is involved with the investigation and will be identifying poultry producers in the area for surveillance purposes.


With the gyrfalcon case, Montana becomes the 12th state to have a confirmed case of avian influenza since the virus was first discovered in Washington in December 2014. Other states affected include Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

To help poultry growers and producers monitor outbreaks of avian influenza, WATTAgNet has created an interactive map tracking confirmed 2015 avian influenza outbreaks in North America. The map allows users to filter by region. Users can also filter by bird species, type of operation affected and date confirmed.