Emergency Preparedness for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)
Avian influenza (AI), or “bird flu”, is a virus that infects domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, quail, and geese, and wild birds such as shorebirds and waterfowl. (USDA Protect Your Birds From Avian Influenza, May 2011)
Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways (flight paths for birds). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in some backyard and commercial poultry flocks across the nation.
3 Things That You Need to Know:
1. There are no cases of HPAI in North Carolina. All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiast, should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual birds deaths to State or Federal officials, either through NCDA & CS Veterinary Division at 919-733-7601 or USDA toll free hotline at 1-866-536-7593
2. The poultry food supply is safe. The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza surveillance system in the world. USDA and NC Agricultural Division is actively looking for the disease, and is educating the public and producers on the appropriate health and safety practices. All NC poultry farms should be following STRICT biosecurity protocols.
3. The risk to humans is low. No human infections with these viruses have been detected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry to be low. (Clifford, USDA Blog, April 2015 and NC Department of Ag & Consumer Sciences)