Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus has been detected in a flock of commercial turkeys in South Carolina. This is a reminder that wild birds can carry both HPAI and low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses (LPAI) viruses that can become HPAI. To prevent infections:
Find infections early
|Neurological signs in a young pheasant.|
Upland gamebirds (pheasants, bobwhite quail and chukar partridges) can be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). When they are infected they may show neurological signs like having twisted necks or difficulty walking. They may also have watery diarrhea, decreased egg production or suddenly die with no signs of illness. Make sure that the people who look at your birds daily (workers, yourself) are reminded of what this disease looks like and know to report to you what they see.If you find 1-2 dead birds in a pen or enclosure two days in a row that you cannot explain, even if all the other birds look fine, first contact your veterinarian, then your state veterinarian office to find out what samples to collect and then your state’s NAHLN lab.
The current outbreak is in commercial poultry operations so, limit all links that your farm has or may have with commercial poultry. Some routes of potential exposure to avoid, are:
1. Garbage and off site dead bird movements may be ways that you are linked to commercial poultry operations.
a. Manage garbage and dead birds on site
b. Make sure that pickups are outside the perimeter of your farm and that you only visit the pickup site at the end of the day, never returning to the farm until you have showered and changed clothes.
4. Having the same visitors as commercial operations or interacting with commercial operators in your community. The social distancing we are all doing for the current COVID-19 outbreak is going to also help to prevent you from inadvertently being contaminated with HPAI virus that could make it back to your birds. Egg or chick deliveries to clients or to the post office may be ways that you could encounter people who work in the commercial industry. Be safe when you return to your farm, limit visitors and remind everyone who works on your farm about the safe procedures you have in place to prevent viruses from reaching your birds.