Eurasian A5 avian influenza confirmed in dead wild geese in New Hampshire – NH Fish and Game Department


CONTACT:
Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-1439
Nicola Whitley: (603) 271-1740
April 6, 2022

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department announces that Eurasian H5, a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), has been detected in recently found dead Canada geese in Strafford County. More than 70 geese were found over several weeks, a number of which were collected and tested. The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory has confirmed the presence of HPAI, and findings from the University of New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center indicate that HPAI is present. HPAI is the probable cause of death. In February, a total of 46 mallard ducks collected through routine wild population surveillance tested positive in Rockingham County for this bird flu, along with 3 other ducks in Grafton County.

This is the first time since 2016 that the Eurasian virus H5 has been found in the United States in wild birds, and it has now spread to 31 states since it was first detected in South Carolina in January 2022. This type of HPAI is considered a low risk to humans, and disease and mortality are generally low in wild birds, but larger mortalities like this do occur. This virus could pose a potential danger to the poultry industry and other domestic birds, such as at Pumpkin Wall Farm in Derry last month.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk of H5 HPAI infection to the public to be low. No human infections with the Eurasian H5 virus have occurred in the United States. If you have been in contact with a sick bird and become ill yourself, contact your health care provider to determine if a flu test is recommended.

Through its ongoing wild bird monitoring program, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA APHIS) collects and tests large numbers of wild bird samples in North American flyways. It is not uncommon to detect avian influenza in wild birds, as these viruses circulate freely in these populations without the birds appearing sick. Recent detections of this strain of Eurasian avian influenza H5 in wild birds serve as an early warning system for bird owners in the United States and New Hampshire to review and remain vigilant with their biosecurity practices to protect birds. poultry and pet birds from avian influenza.

USDA APHIS Veterinary and Wildlife Services recommends that hunters and other bird handlers take precautions to protect themselves and any household birds they may encounter from this virus. Precautionary measures include wearing gloves when handling birds, not handling obviously sick or dead birds, washing tools and work surfaces with soap and water and then disinfecting them, and to avoid cross-contamination between wild birds and domestic birds. The Department also recommends taking bird feeders to help prevent the spread of the virus, particularly if you have domestic poultry.

For more information on the Eurasian H5 HPAI, contact USDA APHIS at 508-363-2290 or visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/avian-influenza/defend-the-flock-ai-wild-birds.

For more information about Eurasian H5 and its impact on wild bird species in New Hampshire, contact the NH Fish and Game Department at 603-271-3421 or visit https://wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/avian-flu.html.

For more information on the impact of Eurasian H5 on New Hampshire domestic bird species, contact the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, Division of Animal Industry, State Veterinarian, Steve Crawford, 603-271-2404 or [email protected] govt.

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