CARSON COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the National Veterinary Services Laboratory recently announced that a striped skunk recovered from Carson County has been detected with a “highly pathogenic avian influenza.”

According to a news release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, this is the first confirmed case of HPAI in mammals in the state of Texas. Officials said that HPAI is a “highly contagious virus” that spreads directly between animals and indirectly through environmental contamination.

Officials said that because of the ability for this disease to be transmitted, the department recommends that wildlife rehabilitators “remain cautious when intaking wild animals,” making sure that animals do not have clinical signs consistent with HPAI. Officials also are asking wildlife rehabilitators to consider quarantining animals to limit the potential exposures to other animals in the facility.

“Currently, the transmission risk of avian influenza from infected birds to people remains low, but the public should take basic protective measures (i.e., wearing gloves, face masks and handwashing) if contact with wild animals cannot be avoided,” the release said. “Those who locate wild animals with signs consistent with HPAI should immediately contact their local TPWD wildlife biologist.”

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