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A female great horned owl returned to the wild this week after an exceptional recovery from the avian influenza, The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota announced Thursday. 

Over 100 raptors at the center have tested positive for highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) since late March. 

The great horned owl released Wednesday is the first raptor patient to recover from HPAI, the center reported —all other raptors sickened by the virus at the center have died or been euthanized. 

The number of HPAI-infected wild raptors continues to grow, with approximately 66% of samples testing positive at the center last week. 

As of May 1, The Raptor Center has tested 189 individuals on admit with 114 testing positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Source: The Raptor Center. 

As of May 1, The Raptor Center has tested 189 individuals on admit with 114 testing positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Source: The Raptor Center. 

Source: The Raptor Center. 

Source: The Raptor Center. 

The great horned owl that recovered from the virus was originally brought to the center after being found in the middle of the road. 

The owl was "quiet and sluggish", but she wasn't showing severe, end-stage symptoms of HPAI, the center reported. At the center, the owl tested positive for HPAI but had low levels of the virus in her system. 

"As she wasn’t exhibiting severe symptoms and our substantial biosecurity protocols allowed us to completely isolate her from others, we were able to give her a chance to clear the virus on her own as we provided support with pain meds, fluids, and food," the center shared. 

The owl tested negative after three days of isolation. 

"We are still learning a lot about this virus and weren’t sure if we’d see long-term impacts from infection, but over the course of a few weeks this owl regained its strength and resumed normal great horned owl behavior," the center reported. 

After a few test flights and one last negative HPAI test, the owl returned to the wild. 

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