The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding poultry owners to continue to monitor for and protect their birds against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Recently, NDA in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirmed a case of HPAI in Nebraska in a commercial flock in Gage County.
“Nebraska hasn’t had any reported cases of HPAI for a few months so while we are disappointed, we are not surprised, to see another case, as there have been several confirmed HPAI cases in surrounding states,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley. “Poultry producers need to continue to be vigilant in protecting their flocks. It’s important for producers to know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and to continue to practice good biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of this disease into their flocks.”
HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick and die.
Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and
appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.
Resources are available for poultry producers at https://nda.nebraska.gov/animal/avian/index.html. Poultry experiencing signs of HPAI or unusual death should be reported to NDA at 402-471-2351 or the USDA at 866-536-7593.