State Department of Agriculture warns bird owners of Avian flu

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Getty Images)
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 2:32 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is extending a strong recommendation to bird owners to stay alert for the threat of the Avian flu.

Veterinarian Dr. Mike Martin urges owners of poultry to continue biosecurity measures, such as keeping birds enclosed/indoors if possible.

The NCDA&CS along with other state and national departments and agencies are continuing to track the High Path Avian Influenza that was first found in wild waterfowl in North Carolina earlier this year.

“Since Jan. 16, more than 100 wild birds have tested positive for HPAI in North Carolina,” Martin says.

Martin adds that HPAI has been confirmed in 17 commercial poultry farms across seven states and 10 backyard/independent flocks in seven states. While the positive cases in domestic poultry in other states concern Martin, he says North Carolina has not had a case of HPAI in domestic poultry.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says this type of HPAI virus is considered low risk to people, but it is dangerous for birds. Here are the warning signs of HPAI:

  • 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.

The NCDA&CS says if your birds are sick or dying, report it right away to your local veterinarian, the NCDA&CS Veterinary Division at (919) 707-3250, or the state Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System at (919) 733-3986.

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