Avian Influenza - Fact Page
Last Updated: May 3, 2016
What is Avian Influenza?
Avian influenza is a viral disease affecting birds. It occurs naturally and may be spread by wildlife. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally, and there is no immediate public health concern. USDA-APHIS Avian Influenza Brochure.
AI viruses are divided into two groups—highly pathogenic (HPAI) and low pathogenic (LPAI)—based on the ability of the virus to produce disease and the severity of illness it can cause.
- HPAI spreads rapidly and has a high death rate in birds.
- LPAI causes only minor illness and occurs naturally in migratory waterfowl. LPAI is a non-reportable disease.
Poultry Exhibition Policy
Due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak, out of state waterfowl will not be allowed at exhibitions in Missouri until further notice. An entry permit and possibly additional testing will be required for poultry entering Missouri for exhibition. The department also recommends owners have their veterinarian contact our office prior to movement.
Additional restrictions may occur if circumstances change. This does not prevent a county fair from banning poultry exhibitions or exhibitors from making a decision to not exhibit poultry.
Positive Cases of HPAI in Missouri
- No confirmed cases in 2016
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is chicken and other poultry safe to eat?
Chicken and other poultry products are safe to eat if they are properly handled and cooked. The affected birds have been quarantined and will not affect the food supply.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to the general public from these H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low.
- What can bird owners do to protect their flocks?
Whether you are a commercial producer or backyard enthusiast, you should continue:
- Practicing good biosecurity
- Preventing contact between your birds and wild birds, and
- Reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state or federal officials, either through the Missouri Department of Agriculture at (573) 751-3377 or USDA’s toll-free number at 1 (866) 536-7593.
- USDA-APHIS: Biosecurity Tips
- USDA-APHIS: Backyard Chicken Flocks
- USDA-APHIS: Pet Bird Owners
- USDA-APHIS: Wild Bird Handling
- Or Visit: http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov/
- What are the symptoms for birds affected with high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)?
Poultry affected by avian influenza can show many symptoms, including:
- Decreased food consumption, huddling, depression, closed eyes
- Respiratory sigs, such as coughing and sneezing
- Decreased egg production, watery greenish diarrhea, excessive thirst
- Swollen wattles and combs
- High mortality and sudden death