Avian influenza is caused by an influenza type A virus. There are 144 different types of avian influenza viruses known. Avian Influenza viruses are categorized into two groups, high pathogenity and low pathogenicity, based on the extent of illness and death they cause in domestic poultry.
Commonly Affected Species:
Signs Of Disease
Avian influenza can cause a variety of clinical signs in birds including 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, or sudden death without clinical signs. At necropsy, nasal discharge, greenish, watery diarrhea and swelling around the eyes and neck can be seen. In addition, multifocal necrosis of the pancreas and liver, pulmonary congestion and edema, subepicardial hemorrhage, and myocarditis can be seen.
Where is Disease Found?
Avian influenza is found worldwide including North America. The disease is found in domestic poultry and wild waterfowl, typically in the low pathogenicity forms. Avian Influenza has been found waterfowl and raptors in Idaho.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Avian influenza viruses typically do not affect humans or mammals. Falconers should exercise caution in feeding their birds muscle or entrails from wild waterfowl that their birds have killed. Do not handle birds that appear sick or are found dead. Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves when handling or cleaning game. Use good hygiene- wash hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling or cleaning game. Cook all game meat thoroughly – 160 to 165 degrees F. Report sick (not injured) or recently dead (within 48 hrs) ducks, geese, swans or other water birds to IDFG
Samples to Collect
Live birds can be tested for Avian Influenza by collection of swab samples from the trachea or cloaca that are submitted to an appropriate diagnostic laboratory. Ideally these samples should be placed in a viral transport media. Sick or dead birds can be tested using the same swab samples. If samples are placed in viral transport media, the samples can be frozen.
Can I Eat The Meat?
Meat from birds that die of Avian Influenza should not be consumed by humans..
What is IDFG doing to help manage this disease?:
IDFG continues to conduct surveillance of wild waterfowl in conjunction with the USDA Wildlife Services. Low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses have been found in wild waterfowl in numerous places in Idaho.