Avian influenza has shown up in Louisiana. It was spread by a hatching eggs from Iowa whose birds were infected. Eggs were also shipped to Georgia and New Mexico.

This disease has already killed nearly 46.9 million chickens and turkeys including many backyard flocks. Please be careful where you obtain both chicks and hatching egg. This epidemic has already offed about 20% of the nations laying flock.

Buy Chicks only from certified NPIP hatcheries


Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally.USDA has both an international and a domestic role in controlling the spread of avian influenza (AI) and reducing its effects on both agriculture and public health. USDA is aware of and prepared for the emergence of new types of AI virus. The nature of the influenza virus is such that mutations occur easily. Therefore, new strains can occur naturally at any time within avian hosts. The concern is whether the changes would impart the potential to cause severe disease or increase transmissibility between birds or mammals. Regardless of these changes, the USDA plans that are currently in place, which include surveillance, reporting, biosecurity, movement control, vaccination and depopulation, can be adjusted and applied to effectively control any new virus outbreak.For an update on avian influenza findings, view the list of Current Highly Pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza Outbreaks.

Free Range Chickens and Avian Flu

I’ve had a few comments on the article I posted about the Avian flu outbreak in the US, insisting it’s a problem of feedlot farms.

Normally, the disease burden in animal agriculture can be attributed to factory farming in some way, but with Avian flu, statistically-speaking, it’s actually the opposite.

Free range and backyard chickens are the most vulnerable to avian influenza:

Wild birds carry the virus in their saliva, mucus and feces. Your chickens don’t even need to actually come in direct contact with the wild birds, they just need to walk on the same ground. The Avian Influenza virus can live in manure for more than 3 months and indefinitely in temperatures below freezing. [x]

This is actually one of the main reasons smaller farmers have a harder time delivering free range and organic eggs and meat: there is a regulatory and hygiene infrastructure that exists for public health reasons, which encourages a further turn towards factory farming, where these external variables can be more reliably-controlled.

Eurosurveillance - View Article

The 235 confirmed AI cases captured from September 2006 to August 2010 had a case fatality rate of 56% (132/235), ranging from 28% (27/98) in Egypt to 87% (71/82) in Indonesia…In relation to children of 0–9 years, odds of fatal outcome were more than six times higher in 10–19 year-olds and 20–29 year-olds… and nearly five times higher in patients of 30 years and older…With this study, we show that data from the public domain yield important epidemiological information on the global AI situation.

"This approach to establish a line list is time-consuming but a line list is a prerequisite to such evaluations. We thus would like to encourage the placing of a publicly accessible line list of anonymised human AI cases, e.g. directly by WHO”

Thank you!

I’ve had several of you message me about waterfowl and avian flu. Cooter and I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the info and warning. The additional duck meat I have in the freezer will be headed for the trash can.
As a falconer, my biggest concern is the safety of my hawk. I’m very aware of the fact that I’ve taken a wild animal from the habitat he lived in and introduced him to a different world. Inevitably this includes risk and exposure to some things that he would never encounter otherwise. It’s a moral and ethical obligation I have to Cooter…something I’m aware of everyday. I’m honored that he puts up with me and lets me go in the field with him, but I have to remember that he has the option to NOT come back to me. That’s part of the beauty of falconry…the careful balance of respect and admiration. Every time he chooses to come back, the bond grows and we learn more about each other.
I think it’s awesome that this community chose to message/reblog the previous posts with info on avian flu. I wanted to thank you all for sharing the info and for your concern! You guys ROCK!


Deadly Bird Flu Flew Over From Asia

by Maggie Fox/NBC

The H5N2 virus that’s spreading among poultry is a new mutant, probably descended from a different virus called H5N8 that’s been plaguing poultry production in Europe and Asia for years, U.S Agriculture Department officials say.

They’re urging producers to protect their flocks by sweeping up spilled feed that might attract wild ducks, by disinfecting boots and equipment between poultry houses and even by watching for dust blown in that might carry infectious virus.


Bird flu viruses can spread quickly from one farm to the next, even with strict security measures. It’ll be important to double down as H5N2 has hit more than a dozen states, most recently forcing the destruction of more than 5 million laying hens at an Iowa farm, says USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. John Clifford.

“This is very devastating to individual producers,” Clifford told NBC News.

“We have good biosecurity in this country, but I think we are dealing with something that is a little bit different now than we have in the past,” Clifford added. “We are going to have to change some things.”

Producers are motivated — exports have already fallen, even though just a few million birds have been affected so far out of billions slaughtered every year.

Clifford said some farms are already implementing measures used in Europe, such as disinfecting boots as workers move from one poultry house to another on the same farm.

USDA has been working on a vaccine, but years of vaccinating birds has shown that immunizations are just one tool to use against bird flu. Flu viruses mutate, and it can be expensive and time-consuming to vaccinate multiple broods of poultry every year.

Genetic sequencing shows this virus, which just appeared in the U.S. at the end of last year, is a descendant of H5N8 viruses that have been wiping out and forcing the slaughter of poultry for decades.

Large outbreaks have been reported from Taiwan to Ireland. South Korea alone reported 65 outbreaks of H5N8 last fall.

Read the entire article

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I have not been able to go birding lately because they have been finding highly pathogenic avian influenza in local birds.  They suspect that migrating waterfowl have been carrying it into the area.  I have chickens and ducks at home and do not want to risk bringing home any disease on my shoes - or bringing anything on my tires and shoes from one wildlife area to another.  I miss my wild bird walks terribly and hope to be back posting more pictures sooner rather than later.

Avian influenza death (Eygpt)-delayed report

WHO Global Alert and Response (GAR):

Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update 60

5 January 2012 - The Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt has notified WHO of a case of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.‪

The case is a 42 year-old male from Menofia Governorate. He developed symptoms on 16 December 2011 and was admitted to hospital on 21 December 2011, where he received oseltamivir treatment. He was in critical condition and died on 22 December 2011.

The case was confirmed by the Central Public Health Laboratories, a National Influenza Centre of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network, on 24 December 2011.

Investigations into the source of infection indicated that the case had exposure to sick and dead backyard poultry.

Of the 157 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 55 have been fatal.

B.C. avian flu virus has Asian origin; first such outbreak in North America

The avian flu virus involved in an outbreak in B.C. is related to a deadly strain that has spread through Asia and is now affecting North American poultry for the first time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

Experts say the presence of an avian flu virus with Asian lineage does not increase the danger to humans - which remains very low - but it could pose a significant risk to the poultry industry.

Nearly 250,000 chickens and turkeys are either dead or set to be euthanized due to avian flu, which has infected 11 sites in B.C.’s Fraser Valley since the beginning of the month.

Officials have already identified the subtype as a highly pathogenic, or high-path, strain of H5N2. Viruses with high pathogenicity kill birds, while their low-path counterparts typically do not.

The agency said tests have determined the virus contains genes both from H5N2, which is common to North American wild birds, as well as genes from a high-path Eurasian strain of H5N8. It keeps the label of H5N2 because its N gene is from H5N2.

“This is the first time a Eurasian lineage highly pathogenic H5 virus has caused an outbreak of avian influenza in poultry in North America,” it said in a statement.

Continue Reading.

Avian Influenza (H5N1 Virus)

Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans. But when bird flu does strike humans, it’s often deadly. More than half the people who become infected with bird flu die of the disease.

In recent years, outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. Most people who have developed symptoms of bird flu have had close contact with sick birds. In a few cases, bird flu has passed from one person to another.

Health officials worry that a global outbreak could occur if a bird flu virus mutates into a form that transmits more easily from person to person. Researchers are working on vaccines to help protect people from bird flu.

Keep reading

Our image 3S2239 (Adelie Penguins) appears in the following article from NPR!

Even Penguins Get The Flu

by Richard Harris/NPR

When you think of bird flu, you may conjure up images of chickens being slaughtered to stem an outbreak, or of migrating ducks, which can carry flu viruses from one continent to the next. Well, it’s time to add penguins to your list of mental images.

Yes, Adelie penguins, which breed in huge colonies on the rocky Antarctic Peninsula, also harbor a version of the avian influenza virus, according to a study published in the journal, mBio.

Fret not. If a penguin happens to sneeze on you, you aren’t going to get the flu. And, happily for the crowded colonies of nesting penguins, the avian influenza virus in their midst doesn’t seem to make penguins sick, either.

See images of Avian Influenza

But the discovery does raise intriguing questions about how flu viruses spread And the finding leaves no doubt that the flu can get just about anywhere on Earth.

Researchers at a World Health Organization flu lab in Australia, led by Aeron Hurt, trekked down to the Antarctic Peninsula a year ago to look for the virus in the throats and, well, other cavities of Adelie penguins.

See more photos of Adelie Penguins

Previous research had hinted that penguins have come in contact with flu viruses. And researchers returned from the southern continent with proof positive. About 3 percent of the penguins they swabbed, from two distinct colonies, were infected but not suffering any obvious effects of a novel flu virus.

The scientists report that the virus is unlike any other flu virus found on the planet. That suggests that it has been isolated for many decades — presumably hiding out in the penguins’ digestive and respiratory tracts, or possibly frozen in Antarctic ice.

Read the entire article 

Bird flu kills thousands of birds on two Canadian farms

Avian influenza, known as bird flu, has killed thousands of turkeys and chickens on two farms in the province of British Columbia, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said on Tuesday.

The government agency said it has placed the farms under quarantine as it conducts tests over the coming days to determine the virus’s precise subtype, and its pathogenicity, or severity.

It has so far identified the virus type as H5, which has previously been reported in Canada, said Harpreet Kochhar, the CFIA’s chief veterinary officer

Avian flu is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most bird flu viruses do not infect humans, but some have caused serious infections in humans, according to the World Health Organization.

Germany, the Netherlands and Britain reported cases last month of the highly pathogenic bird flu H5N8, which is similar to one that devastated poultry flocks in South Korea earlier this year, but has never been detected in humans.

About half of 11,000 turkeys at a farm at Abbotsford, British Columbia, have already died from the disease, while 1,000 of 7,000 broiler chickens at a second farm near Chilliwack, British Columbia, have died, said Jane Pritchard, the West Coast province’s chief veterinary officer. All of the remaining birds on the farms, which are eight kilometers (five miles) apart, will be killed.

Kochhar said it is unclear how the virus infected the farms. He said he has notified U.S. authorities about the discovery.

In 2014, Canada exported 145,000 tonnes of broiler meat and 25,000 tonnes of turkey meat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Map showing overlap in breeding relative abundance for mallard and gadwall species. Note that the geographic distribution of gadwall breeding locations is contained almost entirely by areas where mallard breed, with similar areas of high- and low-breeding concentrations across the contiguous United States. The mallard tested positive at some of the highest rates and the gadwall was near the lowest in proportion of AIV positive tests, suggesting geographic overlap alone does not explain variations in species prevalence patterns.

Published in Farnsworth ML , Miller RS , Pedersen K , Lutman MW , Swafford SR , et al. (2012) Environmental and Demographic Determinants of Avian Influenza Viruses in Waterfowl across the Contiguous United States. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32729. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032729

The current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the United States has resulted in the senseless death and slaughter of more than 41 million chickens and turkeys.

More than 20 million birds have been hens forced to produce eggs for liquid egg production (~30% of total egg market). We hope that from this immense suffering comes a glimmer of hope - suppliers may start looking elsewhere. Fortunately, amazing companies like Hamton Creek have created plant-based alternatives eliminating the need for eggs filled with contamination and cruelty.

Go Vegan!


WHO’s Dr. Margaret Chan to Speak on Containing Contagion in a Wired World

Infectious diseases have the potential to go viral like never before in our world. World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan explains how we can protect ourselves at Asia Society Hong Kong next week.

Read the full story here.