Nevada becomes the sixth western state to report HPAI H5 in wild birds this winter, as we learn from this release from the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
From the Nevada Department of Agriculture:
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) confirms the first case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was found in Nevada. HPAI is a virus that is highly contagious among birds, and can be deadly to them. This strain (H5N8) has not been shown to cause any human infection.
The infected bird was a female mallard found in Lincoln County on January 23, 2015. The bird was then taken to the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory, where it tested positive for HPAI.
NDA will be working with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to monitor the situation. HPAI was confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in California, other cases were reported in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
“So far this is an isolated case,” said Nevada State Veterinarian Michael Greenlee. “If commercial poultry producers or bird owners are concerned about the possible spread to domestic foul, they need to take the proper steps to limit exposure. Prevent contact between their birds and wild birds.”
If you see a sick bird or an unusual bird death, contact officials immediately. If contact occurs, wash hands with soap and water, and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
HPAI would have significant economic impacts if detected in U.S. domestic poultry. Commercial poultry producers should follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in very controlled environments.
Call USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593 if there is concern about sick or dying birds. Biosecurity practices for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
So far only one commercial poultry producer has been affected in the United States (see APHIS: H5N8 Infects California Commercial Turkey Farm), but a small number of backyard flocks have been affected. While not updated with this latest Nevada detection, the USDA’s Update on Avian Influenza Findings in the Pacific Flyway (Last Modified: Jan 30, 2015) shows the following cases.
Since November we’ve seen H5N8 and/or H5N2 turn up in six western states as well as in British Columbia – all of which lie either beneath, or adjacent to, the Pacific Flyway Although primarily north-south migratory routes - migratory flyways overlap – providing opportunities for lateral (east-west) spread of avian viruses as well.
The H5N8 virus has never been known to infect and sicken humans, so for now, it is considered primarily a threat to poultry operations. The HPAI H5 outbreaks in Taiwan this winter have already affected more than 500 farms, and have caused millions of dollars in losses, and so poultry producers in North America are urged to increase their biosecurity measures.