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NC State Extension

Dealing With Avian Influenza

Hen under close scrutiny at FFA poultry evaluations at the State Fairgrounds.

Hen under close scrutiny at FFA poultry evaluations at the State Fairgrounds.

Avian Influenza is a disease of wild birds and domestic poultry caused by many different subtypes of Type A influenza virus. Avian influenza can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds.

What do I need to know about Avian Influenza?

  • There is no evidence that humans can become infected with this strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
  • The U.S. has the best surveillance system in the world for HPAI.
  • North Carolina has not had HPAI to date.
  • If detected, HPAI infected flocks will not enter the food chain so poultry meat and eggs will continue to be healthy, wholesome food products.
  • People who own backyard or pastured poultry should keep them contained (away from wild birds) during September and October.
  • Poultry should have no access to surface water during the fall migration (September and October).
  • Families that have poultry, ducks or quail should advise their children about biosecurity. Children should avoid contact with poultry, ducks or quail outside the home – at friends’ houses, petting zoos, etc. If children do come in contact with birds on another premises, they should wash thoroughly and avoid wearing those same clothes around their own birds.

Handling a Suspected Case of Avian Flu

Avian flu warning signs

If highly pathogenic avian influenza is suspected, pertinent information should be immediately reported by telephone to NCDA&CS, Animal Health Programs, at 919-733-7601.

  • NCDA&CS Diagnostic Labs – there are four locations ranging from the mountains to Raleigh that can test birds for avian flu. Contact the Animal Health Programs number above first.

Where can I find out more information on Avian Influenza?

If you have questions about Avian Influenza, you can contact your local Cooperative Extension center for assistance.

There are also numerous organizations across North Carolina and beyond have developed educational resources regarding avian flu. We encourage you to review the following sites for a more comprehensive understanding and other materials.