Landscape with Animals

Avian Influenza Outbreak (H5N1)

EBR will continue to update this webpage as information becomes available. 

Last Updated: 05/14/2022

Background on the Outbreak of Avian Influenza 

In January of this year, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 was detected in the United States. This was the first case detected in the US since 2016 and was found in a wild American Widgeon in South Carolina. Since that time, HPAI has been detected in over 29 states in the US and 10 provinces in Canada. 

 

Avian Influenza has been detected in a backyard flock in Linn County, Oregon. 

Avian Influenza is carried by wild free-flying waterfowl and shorebirds. Avian influenza can and does infect poultry such as chickens, geese, ducks, quail, pheasants, turkeys, and guinea fowl. Avian Influenza can spread rapidly through poultry flocks and can infect both birds and people. There is currently no vaccination available. 

 

Common Signs of Avian Influenza 

• Lack of energy and appetite 

• Decreased egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs 

• Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks 

• Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs 

• Runny nose, coughing, sneezing 

• Stumbling or falling down 

• Diarrhea 

• Sudden death without any clinical signs

 Please note that ducks, geese, and swans may not exhibit any

symptoms of disease. 

Transmission

Avian influenza viruses are transmitted between poultry primarily through direct or indirect exposure to respiratory secretions or feces of infected birds. A primary method of spread between farms has been through the movement of contaminated equipment, shoes, and clothing. Airborne transmission is theoretically possible, but has been demonstrated only over short distances, such as 50-100 meters.

Transmission from bird to-human can be prevented to a large degree by limiting exposure to other birds. Human risk appears to result from exposure to domestic birds rather than handling, cooking, or eating poultry meat.

Steps to Reduce the Risk to Your Flock

  1. Restrict Access to Your Birds: Keep other birds, especially wild birds, away from your flock. Keep your birds inside when possible to reduce any exposure from wild birds. If you have both poultry and parrots, keep them separated. 

  2. Cleaning: Wash your hands before and after you have contact with your birds. Clean your shoes and tools before and after contact with your birds. 

  3. Quarantine New Birds: Make sure to quarantine any new birds you bring home for 30 days.

  4. Don’t Share Disease: Do not borrow other bird owners’ cages, toys, etc. 

  5. Know the Warning Signs: Detecting Avian Influenza early can help save birds’ lives and prevent spread of the disease. 

  6. Report Sick Birds: Report any sick birds to the USDA by calling 1-866-536-7593.