NCDA&CS continues to monitor High path Avian Influenza in wild bird population; urges industry and hobby growers to follow strong biosecurity measures.

by | Feb 15, 2022

Summary: With the detection of High Path Avian Influenza in hunter harvested migratory waterfowl, the department’s Veterinary Division continues to monitor for High Path AI in commercial and backyard flocks. State Veterinarian Mike Martin urges industry and hobby growers to continue to follow strong biosecurity measures, including keeping birds inside away from wild birds.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis
  • I was very concerned to learn that High Pathogenic Avian Influenza has recently been confirmed in 53 hunter harvested migratory waterfowl in Hyde and Bladen counties and a site located on the Pamlico/Beaufort County line.
  • These are the first wild birds in the United States to have Eurasian H5 High Path AI since 2016. The positive samples were collected by USDA as part of its ongoing surveillance program for early detection of High Path AI in collaboration with state wildlife agencies.
  • This was not unexpected. High Path AI has been in Eurasian countries the past few months and in late December it was found in Newfoundland Canada, showing that it had moved from Eurasia. Newfoundland is where the Eurasian Atlantic Flyway and the American Atlantic flyway, which travels down the coastal eastern United States, cross.
  • In addition to these positive detections in wild birds, late last week Indiana announced that High Path AI had been found in a commercial turkey operation there. Another reminder that our growers and industry need to take this very seriously.
  • This is a big concern for our state’s poultry industry because this is a highly transmissible and deadly disease in birds. It can also have trade implications if it gets in our commercial flocks.
  • While High Path AI has only been found in waterfowl in a few counties in Eastern North Carolina, poultry owners across the state should be mindful of heightened biosecurity as the migratory flyway covers the entire state.
  • We do have free range and organic bird operations in North Carolina and we believe they need to keep those birds indoors due to this heightened risk. Bird owners should also keep their flock away from ponds where they might encounter migrating birds. This represents another serious risk for growers.
  • It is important that poultry owners monitor their flocks for unusual signs of illness or unexpected deaths and report them to us as soon as possible.
  • Some of the warning signs of High Path AI include:
    • Reduced energy, decreased appetite, and/or decreased activity
    • Lower egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
    • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles
    • Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs
    • Difficulty breathing, runny nares (nose), and/or sneezing
    • Twisting of the head and neck, stumbling, falling down, tremors and/or circling
    • Greenish diarrhea
  • If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away to your local veterinarian, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division at 919-707-3250, or the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System at 919-733-3986.
  • This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
  • High Path AI is not a food safety issue. Your food is safe.
  • Listeners can find more information on avian influenza and additional steps you can take to protect your flock at