West Nile Virus found in ruffed grouse last year

The Minnesota DNR says while West Nile virus has been present in samples of ruffed grouse tested, the exposed can survive.

According to a release, of the 273 samples from grouse harvested by hunters in the state last year, 12 and a half percent had antibodies consistent with West Nile exposure that were confirmed in almost 4 percent of samples and likely in almost 9 percent.

The virus was not present in any ruffed grouse hearts, meaning the birds weren’t sick when harvested.

Grouse project leader Charlotte Roy says the study “doesn’t tell us about birds that may have died from the disease over the summer.”

Sample collection is continuing for the 2019 grouse hunting season, and hunters can voluntarily submit samples of blood and hearts, with collection kits available at DNR area wildlife offices.


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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