Avian Influenza Confirmed in Midwest During Fall Migratory Season

Missouri poultry producers are encouraged to review and tighten biosecurity protocols in light of the avian influenza virus confirmation in poultry throughout the Midwest.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 is known to be deadly for domesticated chickens and turkeys. Avian influenza has been confirmed in both commercial and backyard poultry flocks in Midwestern states this month.

The influenza had a major impact on the U.S. poultry industry this spring, as migratory birds flew north for the summer. While wild birds, especially waterfowl, are carriers of the virus, domestic poultry are incredibly susceptible.

In a release Missouri State Veterinarian Steve Strubberg said “HPAI didn’t just ‘go away’ over the summer. The wild waterfowl carrying the virus are again active in the flyways as the fall migratory season ensues. It is extremely important that poultry producers practice biosecurity measures and be vigilant to protect the health of their flocks.”

Among the symptoms of Avian Flu are a decrease in water and feed consumption, quietness among the flock, a decrease in egg production, and a sudden increase in deaths in the flock.

Producers can help prevent the spread of the Avian Flu by preventing contact with wild birds, especially wild waterfowl, restricting visitor access to your birds, limiting food and water sources that would attract wild birds, cleaning and disinfecting all wheels on vehicles, wagons and trailers visiting an area or a farm where poultry is located and any equipment, including cages or coops, that was borrowed from or loaned to another producer.

If you notice any symptoms in your flock, you are encouraged to contact your local veterinarian or the Missouri Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division at (573) 751-3377.