Updated February 8, 2022
On January 14, 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild American wigeon in Colleton County, South Carolina. You can read the entire statement from USDA APHIS about the detection of HPAI in the United States here.
Eurasian H5 HPAI, also known as H5N1, has not been detected in a wild bird in the United States since 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to the general public from HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human infections with Eurasian H5 viruses have occurred in the United States.
HPAI was also recently detected in Canada. On December 20, 2021, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detected the presence of HPAI subtype H5N1 on a farm on the Avalon Peninsula in the province of Newfoundland.
Authorities were notified after an unusually large mortality event among farm birds. 360 birds died as a result of the virus; the remaining 59 birds, which were also infected, were depopulated. H5N1 was identified in domestic chickens, ducks, and geese on the farm, none of which were destined for human consumption.
It is believed that the farm birds may have been exposed to the virus via wild ducks that frequent a pond on farm grounds, and Canadian officials are currently surveying wild bird populations for the presence of the virus. Environment Canada has confirmed the presence of H5N1 in other locations in Newfoundland, including Bowring Park, Quidi Vidi Lake, and Mundy Pond. As winter cold fronts push birds south, and when migrations begin later this year, facilities – especially those in the Eastern and Mississippi flyways – should remain vigilant and be prepared for a potential outbreak in their area.
Preparing for an outbreak of HPAI at your facility is key to minimizing potential damage and mortality, and you can start by reviewing ZAHP’s Avian Influenza Zoo Preparedness Exercises and Flu at the Zoo Exercises.
- USDA Resources:
- HPAI Overview
- Update from USDA on HPAI Detection in Wild Bird (Webinar from 1/18/22)
- Confirmed 2022 HPAI Cases in the United States
- USDA Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) Plan for Responding to HPAI
- HPAI ArcGIS Planning and Preparation Tool
- USDA APHIS: Defend the Flock
- Defend the Flock is an education program offering free tools and resources to help people working with and/or handling poultry follow proper biosecurity practices.
- USDA APHIS Avian Influenza Guidance Documents
- ZAHP Resources:
- Other Resources:
- USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Wild Bird in South Carolina
- Hundreds of birds die at St. John’s exhibition farm in avian flu tragedy
- Avian flu discovered in birds around St. John’s, Environment Canada officials say
- No bans expected from avian flu outbreak
Photo courtesy of Alan D. Wilson/Creative Commons.