Avian influenza

With the H5N1 avian flu strain sweeping the country, zoos are keeping their birds indoors. In Ohio, a backyard flock was infected, as were a few fowl in northwest Ohio. As a whole, numbers have remained low in the state and no cases were reported in April, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Division of Wildlife is working closely with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA, and other state and federal agencies to monitor the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. It is a serious disease and requires rapid response because it is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens.

All Ohioans can report sick or dead wild birds suspected of HPAI at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or wildohio.gov. The following bird species should be reported:

  • Any raptor, such as a bald eagle.
  • Multiple waterfowl, such as geese or ducks.
  • Any other large congregation of sick or dead birds.

HPAI occurs naturally in bird populations and is monitored closely by the U.S. Geological Survey. Native Ohio birds such as shorebirds, raptors and waterfowl are vulnerable to HPAI. Domestic chickens and turkeys also are vulnerable to HPAI. The virus is transmitted from bird to bird through feeding and interactions.

More information about bird flu is available at aphis.usda.gov.

The virus does not present an immediate public health concern, but individuals should avoid handling sick or dead birds as a precaution.

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