Avian influenza infects ducks, chickens, and vultures in Pennsylvania; Officials ask the public to report dead birds 2022-04-27 13:52:26


Cases of bird flu in wild birds, including vultures and ducks, are increasing in Pennsylvania.

The first discovery was made on a poultry farm, where birds are particularly susceptible to influenza, on April 16 at a Lancaster farm. USDA recently announced More finds are in three trading flocks, also in Lancaster.

No human case of bird flu has been detected in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission tracks cases of wild birds while the USDA measures the spread of influenza in pet poultry.

Avian influenza, known as HPAI, is highly contagious to chickens, ducks, geese, quail pheasants, guinea fowl, and turkeys, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Wild waterfowl and beach birds are the natural reservoirs of avian influenza viruses. The flu can sicken and kill wild poultry such as turkey and grouse; Birds of prey such as hawks and eagles. scavenger eaters of birds such as crows, gulls, and crows; And other species such as ducks and geese.

The commission reported the state’s first confirmed case of bird flu on March 25 – a wild bald eagle was found dead in Chester County near Philadelphia.

The commission told Tribune-Review last week that five wild Mergansers covered in Kahle Lake on the border of Clarion and Venango counties have tested positive for the flu.

Four died and one was euthanized after showing signs of neurological problems, UNHCR spokesman Travis Lau said.

Lau said the flu was recently detected in another bald eagle and a red duck from Crawford County, and a Canadian goose from Franklin County.

Birds of prey such as the bald eagle and scavengers are susceptible to influenza because they eat infected waterfowl, shorebirds and wild poultry, said Andrew de Salvo, a wildlife veterinarian with the Hunting Committee.

“The discoveries in vultures are not unexpected given the potential for exposure,” he said. “In terms of population, at this time, there are no indications that an outbreak of highly virulent avian influenza has significantly affected the bald eagle or other wild bird populations,” de Salvo said. “But that is never certain and could change.”

Although there have been no documented cases of the flu in southwestern Pennsylvania, that doesn’t mean it isn’t here.

Highly virulent avian influenza detected in wild birds Throughout the eastern United States As such, avian influenza should be considered potentially present in wild bird populations throughout Pennsylvania,” said de Salvo.

Local and resident birdwatchers contact the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania for guidance.

“Bird flu is rampant in the bird community all the time. This is a highly contagious disease, as far as we know,” Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania said.

Residents ask if they should take down feeders for hummingbirds and other birds.

Not at this point, Bonner said. Most birds at high risk are not backyard birds, he said.

“Specifically, hummingbirds do not congregate in large groups and do not like each other,” Bonner said.

The Game Commission does not require residents to remove their feeders.

Bonner said residents should regularly clean their bird feeders somewhere where they are not preparing food, due to the potential for salmonella and other germs.

The Committee asks the public to report dead birds.

Bonner said residents should know which bird groups are most affected by the flu. “We all have to be vigilant and look for cases,” he said.

Bonner said that given the typical lifespans of birds of five to six years, it is not uncommon to find dead birds in yards and on paths.

Di Salvo said that if residents find dead birds that they suspect may have the flu, they should be careful handling the bird.

Unless the commission wants to obtain the sample, de Salvo said, the public should dispose of it while wearing gloves by burying it at least two feet deep in the ground to prevent scavengers from eating the body.

He said that influenza is an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans.

If residents need to dispose of the bird in their residential litter collection, they should place the carcass in a double bag, along with any disposable gloves.

Residents may report sick or dead wild birds, especially susceptible species, to the Game Committee at 610-926-3136 or pgc-wildlifehealth@pa.gov.

Any sick or dead poultry should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852.

If residents feel sick after coming into contact with a sick or dead domestic or wild bird, they should call their primary care physician or the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 877-724-3258.

Mary Ann Thomas is a writer for the Tribune Review. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, mthomas@triblive.com or via Twitter .