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Bird Flu

There is an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza going on in the United States this year. It has been confirmed in both wild and domestic birds in our community (Spring Creek Marina and Wild Horse). This disease is harmful to poultry flocks especially if it’s highly pathogenic (HPAI). Preventing disease is the best way to keep your flock healthy. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern. As of April 21, 2022, no human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S. Public risk is very low with no food safety concerns because infected birds don’t reach the market. Infection risk normally only exists for people in direct contact with affected birds.

Avian influenza (AI) is a disease that affects domestic poultry including:
• Chickens, Turkeys, Pheasants, Quail, Ducks, Geese

Waterfowl and shorebirds are natural hosts for the avian influenza virus. These birds will shed the virus, often without showing signs of illness.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is rapidly fatal for poultry. Sudden onset of HPAI and high death rates are common among all poultry (except ducks and geese).

Biosecurity recommendations:

 Wash hands before and after coming in contact with birds.
 Limit the number of people that come into contact with your flock to those necessary for their care.
 Use personal protective equipment such as shoe covers, gloves, hair and clothing covers.
 Clean and disinfect equipment before and after each use.
 Do not share tools or supplies between flocks or neighbors.
 Flocks should be housed in enclosures that prevent any exposure to wild birds or waterfowl, such as barns or similar covered, secure areas.
 Avoid attracting wild birds to your residence.
• Cover or enclose any outdoor feeding areas for poultry.
• Promptly clean up any feed spills.
• Avoid visiting any ponds or streams, especially with pets.
 Consider reducing large puddles and standing water that may be a nice resting place for migratory birds.
 Avoid attracting wild birds and waterfowl by securing feed and not using wild bird feeders on or near the premises.
 Quarantine new birds or birds returning to the flock for 30 days before (re)introduction.
 Quarantine sick birds immediately and report to the USDA at (866) 536-7593 or the NDA State Veterinarian [email protected].
 Three or more wild bird mortalities should be reported to the Nevada Department of Wildlife at (775) 688-1500 or [email protected].

Some birds, including bird of prey species (owls, raptors, eagles), grouse, and domestic birds, such as backyard and commercial chickens, can have very high mortality rates, reaching up to 95% in domestic chickens. In addition, cases have occurred in various mammal species and all mammals should be considered potentially susceptible.

HPAI typically doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall population of waterfowl. However, with waterfowl hunting seasons approaching, we encourage hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to take proper precautions to keep themselves and their pets safe and help prevent the spread of HPAI to domestic birds.

Hunters are encouraged to:
• Never handle, consume, or bring home sick or dead waterfowl.
• Harvest only birds that appear and act healthy.
• Wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning birds and do so in a well-ventilated area.
• Remove intestines and discard soon after harvesting and avoid direct contact with them.
• Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling carcasses.
• Wash hands after handling game and clean equipment.
• Cook all game to an internal temperature of 165F before consuming.

Other information for everyone to keep in mind includes:
• Contact NDOW at 775-688-1500 if you notice sick birds or unusual levels mortality of ducks or other birds.
• Sick birds can be found in urban or rural settings and HPAI can be carried and passed on to other animals.
• Dogs and other mammals may be susceptible to HPAI:
• Do not let your dog come into contact with sick birds or dead birds that you have not harvested.
• Do not let your dog consume raw meat including from waterfowl.
• If your dog becomes ill, seek veterinary care and mention that you have been hunting with your dog.

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