- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Thursday urged people to be careful handling wild or domestic fowl because Wyoming is now among the states where a strain of bird flu has turned up in recent months.

A goose from the Cheyenne area recently tested positive for the H5N2 virus. The virus is considered highly pathogenic, meaning it can spread quickly and be deadly to geese, ducks, chickens and other fowl.

The virus presents little risk to people. Still, Game and Fish officials urged people who handle wild or domestic fowl to take precautions.

They should wear latex or rubber gloves, wash their hands thoroughly, disinfect areas where bird meat is processed, and cook bird meat thoroughly, they said in a release.

Businesses and individuals who keep domestic fowl should keep wild birds away from their flocks and be sure to disinfect equipment, clean cages regularly and change food and water daily, they said.

“Avian influenza can be transmitted to domestic bird flocks from infected wild birds,” State Veterinarian Jim Logan said.

Two highly pathogenic bird flu viruses - H5N2 and H5N8 - have been documented since late last year in wild and domestic fowl in 11 states: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Right now, the virus is of little concern to hunters because most Wyoming bird-hunting seasons don’t resume until this fall. Falconers, however, should avoid hunting other birds - particularly waterfowl - during the virus outbreak, officials said.

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