APHIS: Avian Flu Detected In Wild Birds In 3 States Not Immediate Public Health Emergency

Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D. Hopkins County Extension Agent

By Dr. Mario A. Villarino, Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, [email protected]

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a flock of commercial turkeys in Indiana, a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Kentucky, and a backyard flock of mixed species birds in Virginia, in February 2022.

Prior to these cases, APHIS also reported multiple confirmations of HPAI in the wild bird population, since January 2022. These findings are not unexpected, as wild birds can be infected with HPAI and can carry the disease to new areas when migrating. APHIS anticipates additional wild bird findings.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively surveil and test in the affected areas and look for the disease in other commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

While avian influenza has not been detected in Texas, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) strongly encourages poultry owners to implement or strengthen biosecurity practices in both commercial and backyard flocks immediately. Creating a barrier between migratory birds and your flock is of the utmost importance due to the known HPAI in the fly ways. Practicing sound biosecurity can help keep disease away from your flock and keep your birds healthy.

Author: Faith Huffman

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