Ruffed Grouse

New virus affects grouse

Another disease is affecting ruffed grouse in Minnesota. According to a release from the DNR, a mosquito-borne virus called eastern equine encephalitis was discovered in three Itasca County ruffed grouse.

The hunters who harvested them said they had noticed odd behavior in the birds, they didn’t or couldn’t fly away, and while field dressing, noticed a decrease in muscle mass.

This is the first time the disease was found in a Minnesota wild animal.

The EEE virus is typically found in the eastern US and along the Gulf Coast, but has also been found in Michigan and Wisconsin.

No human cases of EEE in Minnesota have yet been reported, but the virus can cause a high fatality rate among mammalian hosts and birds if encephalitis develops.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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