Avian Flu won't affect turkey hunting in Missouri

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COLUMBIA - Avian influenza A or bird flu-as it's more commonly known-has affected millions of turkeys across the Midwest in recent months. Fortunately, this disease will not impact Missouri bow hunting season beginning Tuesday morning.

Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle told KOMU 8 News "no wild turkey has ever been reported with avian influenza in Missouri."

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has been closely monitoring the domesticated turkey populations in the Midwest. In June, CIDRAP reported "Iowa has now had 65 outbreaks in 18 counties, with 28.6 million poultry affected. Minnesota also has seen an avian flu influx. The CIDRAP reported 103 farms have been hit by avian flu in 23 counties, totaling more than 8.3 million reported birds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the disease on their website as:

"Avian influenza refers to infection of birds with avian influenza Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Wild aquatic birds can be infected with avian influenza A viruses in their intestines and respiratory tract, but usually do not get sick. However, avian influenza A viruses are very contagious among birds and some of these viruses can sicken and even kill certain domesticated bird species including chickens, ducks, and turkeys."

Illnesses found in domesticated turkeys have led to a shortage of turkey on the supermarket shelves. KOMU 8 News reported on that story September 1.