HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- State wildlife officials say killing dozens of sick bighorn sheep has not stopped a pneumonia outbreak and that they will let the disease run its course through the herd.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials have killed 44 bighorn sheep in the herd of about 300 animals west of Anaconda since confirming the pneumonia outbreak in August.

But FWP officials said Tuesday it appears the whole population has been exposed and there is nothing to gain by killing more sheep.

There are no known vaccines to prevent pneumonia in bighorn sheep, which is usually fatal for the animals. Instead, FWP kills sick sheep to prevent other animals from being exposed.

Spokeswoman Vivica Crowser says officials don't yet know how many animals have died in the outbreak.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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