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.