Highly pathogenic bird flu detected in New York wild birds, DEC says

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State officials are warning of a new wave of bird flu being reported across New York.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) has been detected in several species of wild birds in several regions of the state.

Although cases have been reported in birds statewide, no human HPAI infections have been documented in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and new cases in New York “do not present an immediate public concern”. .”

The DEC warned that HPAI outbreaks in wild birds are cyclical and linked to their migration patterns when concentrated in greatest numbers.

According to the DEC, HPAI is caused by a virus carried by free-flying wild birds such as ducks, geese, gulls and shorebirds.

The most recent strain of HPAI is believed to have originated in Europe, where it has been spreading since 2020 before arriving in North America in 2021, according to DEC

The first case of the European HPAI strain was reported in Suffolk County on Long Island in a domestic herd. It has spread north since then.

As of Friday, April 22, HPAI has been found in captive chickens, pheasants, and ducks in these counties:

  • Dutch;
  • Ulster;
  • Monroe;
  • Fulton.

HPAI has also been detected in wild birds in these New York counties:

  • Cayuga;
  • Clinton;
  • Montgomery;
  • Monroe;
  • Onondaga;
  • Seneca;
  • Suffolk;
  • Nasau;
  • Livingston;
  • Wayne.

Wild birds include: Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, Mute Swan, Sanderling, Mallard, Rufous Duck, Ringnecked Duck, Wood Duck, Crowned Merganser, Greater heron, bald eagle, great horned owl, snowy owl, cooper hawk, red-tailed hawk, fish crow and turkey vulture.

“Generally, influenza viruses can infect some wildlife species without causing signs of disease, but new strains can emerge and cause disease with high mortality in wild birds and domestic poultry,” DEC officials noted. . “These strains are designated as highly pathogenic, or HPAI. HPAI outbreaks in wild birds are often cyclical and linked to migration when birds are concentrated in large numbers.

“As the birds spread across the landscape during the nesting season, disease transmission should decrease.”

Although there is no immediate risk to public health, the public has been advised to report dead birds to regional DEC tracking offices to monitor the spread of HPAI.

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