The US Department of Agriculture confirmed two further cases of highly dangerous avian influenza in wild birds on Tuesday, just days after the first incidence of the virus’s Eurasian H5 strain was discovered. Colleton County, South Carolina, has two instances of Eurasian H5 avian influenza, whereas Hyde County, North Carolina, has one case.
The H5N1 virus, which has triggered a wave of bird flu epidemics in livestock across Europe and Asia, is present in all three cases, which have been documented in American pigeons, blue-winged teals, and northern shovelers. Despite the fact that H5N1 is one of the few bird flu variants that infect people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the risk to the general public is low.
According to a press statement from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), no human infections with Eurasian H5 viruses have been documented in the United States. Poultry and eggs should be handled carefully and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills bacteria and viruses.
People should avoid direct contact with wild birds by wearing gloves, according to the US agency, because wild birds can become infected with H5N1 without showing symptoms.
“If you come into contact with healthy domestic chickens or birds, wash your hands with soap and water and change your clothes.” “Whenever possible, hunters should dress game birds in the field and follow excellent biosecurity to limit illness spread,” according to the announcement.
Poultry producers should avoid interaction with wild birds and report sick or unexpected bird deaths to state or federal regulators, according to the USDA.