The Bird (Flu) Has Landed

Jan 18, 2022

Some fowl news about the most recent bird flu strain making its way around the world…

On January 14, the first U.S. case of Eurasion H5 avian influenza was documented in South Carolina by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  (APHIS). It’s the first case of its kind since 2016.

The culprit? A wild duck (an American Wigeon) hunted in Colleton County, initially tested at the Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

Some further eggs-planation:

  • The CDC classifies risk to the general public to be low, with 0 human infections in the U.S.
  • Late 2021 saw multiple outbreaks of different strains of bird flu across Europe and Asia, with tens of millions of birds estimated to have been culled.
  • The largest outbreak of the bird flu ever recorded in the U.S. occurred in 2015, affecting 20.3M chickens, 5.3M turkeys, and 78K mixed poultry and pheasant animals.

So what’s next? The USDA is advising poultry producers to review their safety and biosecurity measures for their operations, including preventing contact between their birds and wild birds.

Producers are encouraged to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths through the USDA’s toll-free number (1-866-536-7593) or to their state veterinarian.