Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Reported in SC
Migratory birds infected with Avian Influenza (bird flu) continue to be found around the globe. Cases of the birds infected with the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) are popping up in China, Europe, Canada and now in the US. This is the first case of HPAI reported in the US since 2016. A wild duck harvested by a hunter in Colleton County SC was found to be infected with HPAI and was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday, January 14, 2022.
According to a press release from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a strain of highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza was found in a wild American wigeon in Colleton County, South Carolina.
Eurasian H5 HPAI has not been detected in a wild bird in the United States since 2016. This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people but it can be a danger for the poultry industry. Currently there are no indications that HPAI has spread from wild migratory birds to commercial poultry in the United States. Experts hope to keep it that way by urging growers to intensify biosecurity measures on their farms.
"We’re asking that anyone involved with poultry or egg production, from large farms all the way down to backyard flocks, review their biosecurity practices to assure the health of their birds," said state veterinarian Michael J. Neault, who directs Clemson Livestock Poultry Health, which includes the Veterinary Diagnostic Center.
Contract poultry growers should be familiar with the specifics of their company’s biosecurity protocols and work closely with company representatives to implement those programs. Growers should also report increases in mortality or signs of health problems to their service representative immediately. Timely reporting of health issues on a farm will not only help restrict additional infections, but will minimize losses to both the grower and company.