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A deadly strain of bird flu is spreading across the country.
Since February of this year, state and federal officials have been monitoring the virus that has infected and killed birds of a variety of species. It’s estimated that about 24 million birds have been infected, including both wild and domestic animals.
Bald eagles have been added to the list of birds killed by the flu, according to the USDA.
The federal organization reports that 36 bald eagles have died across 14 states this year. Those states include Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.
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The deaths have mostly been reported in states on the east coast, though the virus does appear to be spreading west ward. Cases (not involving bald eagles) have been reported in Utah and Idaho.
Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in August 2007 after their populations recovered sufficiently, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They’re still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Fox News previously reported that zoos across the country are taking precautionary steps to protect their birds.
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The Columbus Zoo in Ohio closes a number of its bird habitats, and the Kansas City Zoo in Missouri is taking similar steps.
“Like other zoos and animal care facilities in our region, the Kansas City Zoo has been closely monitoring the recent outbreak of avian influenza, a viral respiratory disease of birds,” the zoo wrote in a press release. “The virus has now been documented in several states, including Missouri, so the Zoo is taking immediate steps to protect the birds in our care from this disease.”
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Avian flu can transmit from one bird to another through saliva, nasal secretions and feces. The virus is highly contagious and no cure has been discovered yet. Serious cases can lead to death, and many birds across the country have unfortunately been euthanized due to extreme sickness.
There have been no reported cases of the 2022 strain of bird flu in people.
Fox News’ Cortney Moore contributed to this report.