South Carolina: Highly Pathogenic H5 Eurasian Avian Influenza Confirmed in a Wild American Duck

news desk @infectiousdiseasenews

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed highly pathogenic H5 Eurasian avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild American duck in Colleton County, South Carolina.

Image/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Eurasian HPAI H5 has not been detected in a wild bird in the United States since 2016.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to the general public of HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human infections with the Eurasian H5 virus have occurred in the United States. As a reminder, proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI.

Since wild birds can be infected with these viruses without appearing sick, people should minimize direct contact with wild birds by using gloves. In case of contact, wash hands with soap and water and change clothes before contact with healthy poultry and domestic birds. Hunters should dress game birds whenever possible and practice good biosecurity to prevent any potential spread of disease.

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Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free-flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, 16 in number (H1-H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, 9 in number ( N1-N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be subdivided into different strains that circulate in flyways/geographical regions. AI viruses are further classified according to their pathogenicity (low or high) – the ability of a particular virus strain to cause disease in domestic chickens.

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