Respiratory disease found in some Arizona bighorn sheep

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PHOENIX (AP) — Wildlife officials say bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains in northwest Arizona are afflicted with a respiratory disease.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department said Thursday that tests of tissue samples from three ewes confirm the animals have a strain of pneumonia bacteria.

The agency says hunters last month noticed bighorn sheep that were coughing or putting out a nasal discharge.

The department conducted a spot survey on Dec. 9.

Most sheep appeared in good condition. There were no deceased sheep.

They say the bacteria found are the same bacteria behind a 2013 outbreak of pneumonia among bighorn sheep in 2013 in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

Officials say they will continue to monitor the sheep population in the Black Mountains.

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