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‘Highly pathogenic avian influenza detected in wild birds,’ Kansas Dept. of Agriculture says

Generic file photo - Waterfowl in Illinois.
Generic file photo - Waterfowl in Illinois.(Colin Baillie)
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 4:13 PM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KCTV) - Today, the Kansas Department of Agriculture said they have confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild waterfowl in the central part of the state.

They say this is the sate’s first confirmed case of HPAI since 2015.

The CDC says that recent HPAI detections don’t present an immediate public health concern. “No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States,” the Kansas Department of Agriculture said. “Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly.”

That being said, this does pose a threat to other birds, wild or not. HPAI is highly contagious. Chickens, turkeys, and other birds who catch it can get very sick or suddenly die.

“Confirmed HPAI in wild birds in central Kansas is an indication that Kansas birds are at risk of exposure from the wild migratory bird population,” said Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith. “We’ve encouraged Kansas poultry owners to be aware of this possibility, but now the reality is all poultry owners need to be vigilant in taking steps to protect their flocks from avian influenza. If you haven’t implemented biosecurity practices yet, the time to do it is now.”

Biosecurity practices include the following:

  • Prevent contact with wild birds, especially wild waterfowl. Remove any potential nesting areas for wild birds.
  • Cover and enclose outdoor feeding areas, and cover stored feed.
  • Take all possible steps to separate wild birds from having any access to your flock or their living area.
  • Clean and disinfect any vehicle tires or equipment that has been on other farms or other locations where there is poultry or wild birds.
  • Wear clean clothing, boots and shoes when in contact with your flock.
  • Restrict unauthorized people and vehicles.
  • Isolate new birds.

Right now, the disease hasn’t been detected in domestic birds in Kansas. However, people should monitor their birds for the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge and other signs of respiratory distress
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decreased water consumption
  • Decreased egg production and/or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs
  • Incoordination
  • Diarrhea

“If these symptoms are observed in your birds, immediately contact your veterinarian,” the Kansas Department of Agriculture said. “If you don’t have a regular veterinarian, contact KDA’s Division of Animal Health office toll-free at 833-765-2006.”

“The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations,” their press release said.

“For more information about HPAI, including current status of the confirmed cases in other states as well as more information about biosecurity for your flock, go to the KDA’s avian influenza webpage at agriculture.ks.gov/AvianInfluenza or call KDA at 833-765-2006,” they added.