BOZEMAN, Mont. — Montana officials have confirmed that the same parasite that killed thousands of fish in the Yellowstone River last year is also responsible for the deaths of a handful of fish discovered by officials at the river over the past two weeks.

A news release by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says laboratory results confirmed the recently discovered fish died from a microscopic parasite that causes proliferative kidney disease, the same disease that killed off thousands of mountain whitefish last year. Wildlife staff found about 188 dead whitefish and two dead suckers during separate trips down the river.

Fisheries Division Administrator Eileen Ryce says this year’s outbreak is far less than what was seen last year. Wildlife officials suspect better river conditions have contributed to the lower death rate.

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