Avian flu found in Nevada wild bird population

The current viral strain poses a low risk of human infection
Bird flu (Preston Keres/USDA)
Bird flu (Preston Keres/USDA)(Preston Keres / USDA)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 10:23 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Nevada Department of Wildlife has confirmed the presence of Bird Flu in wild bird populations in the state.

The disease mostly circulates in waterfowl, and most likely already exists in wild waterfowl populations throughout the state, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Birds of prey are considered especially vulnerable, with domestic chickens having a mortality rate of 95% from the disease. They do warn, however, that all mammals should be considered potentially susceptible.

“HPAI (avian flu) typically doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall population of waterfowl,” said NDOW Wildlife Veterinarian Nate LaHue. “However, with waterfowl hunting seasons approaching, we encourage hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to take proper precautions to keep themselves and their pets safe and help prevent the spread of HPAI to domestic birds.

The disease has been detected throughout the U.S. since December 2021 with the first case being discovered in Nevada in a flock of domestic birds in Carson City in July 2022.

Cases have been confirmed in multiple geese and ducks in Reno as well as in bird of prey species across western Nevada.

The current viral strain poses a low risk of human infection.

Hunters are encouraged to:

· Never handle, consume, or bring home sick or dead waterfowl.

· Harvest only birds that appear and act healthy.

· Wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning birds and do so in a well-ventilated area.

· Remove intestines and discard soon after harvesting and avoid direct contact with them.

· Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling carcasses.

· Wash hands after handling game and clean equipment.

· Cook all game to an internal temperature of 165F before consuming.

If you are planning to hunt in Canada, please see recent transport restrictions for harvested wild birds at the following link: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2022/canada-wild-bird-game-carcasses