What to Know About Avian Flu
Currently, cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been found in domestic and wild bird populations in 50 Minnesota counties. While an infected backyard flock was discovered in Anoka County on May 4, 2022, the cases here so far have mostly impacted the wild bird population. More recently, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) news release on May 11, 2022, reported a wild fox in Anoka County tested positive. This is the first confirmed wild mammal case of HPAI in Minnesota.
Due to the ease at which this disease spreads, several types of domestic birds are at risk, including chickens, turkeys, captive pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, domestic geese, and guinea fowl. Signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for include inability to fly; drooping head; swimming in circles (waterfowl); trouble standing upright; tremors; and loss of coordination.
Anyone who finds five or more dead birds of any kind on their property, one or more raptors (eagle, owl, hawk) or birds exhibiting signs of sickness should contact the Minnesota DNR information center at 888-646-6367.
National data on avian influenza in wild birds does not suggest songbirds play a significant role in outbreaks. However, people who wish to take their bird feeders down as a precaution are encouraged to do so.
- Avoid direct contact with bird droppings.
- Clean feeders, watering bowls, and bird cages with detergent.
- Wash your hands after dealing with raw poultry products, use gloves and mask if available.
- If you find five or more dead birds, one or more raptors or birds exhibiting signs of sickness, stay away call the Minnesota DNR information center at 888-646-6367.
- Touch dead birds with bare hands.
- Observe wild birds up close.
- Handle or touch sick or dead domestic birds.
- Consume undercooked poultry or eggs.