Veterinarian with stethoscope holding and examining chicken on ranch background. Hen in vet hands for check up in natural eco farm. Animal care and ecological farming concept

What is the Avian Flu?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has officially been confirmed in Alaska. Avian influenza viruses are classified as either “low pathogenic (LPAI)” or “highly pathogenic (HPAI)” based on their genetic features and the severity of the disease they cause in poultry. Caused by an influenza type A virus, HPAI can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds (especially waterfowl). In addition to the disease infecting domestic birds, it is important to know that wild birds can also be infected and show no signs of illness. They can carry the disease to new areas when migrating, potentially exposing domestic poultry to the virus.

The clinical signs of birds affected with all forms of Avian Influenza may show one or more of the following:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Decreased water consumption up to 72 hours before other clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft–shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Diarrhea

Sick or deceased domestic birds should be reported to your local veterinarian. If you do not raise domestic birds or have a poultry operation but you encounter sick or dead wild birds, please use bio-safety measures, and report your findings through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency