The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed March 13 the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain H5N2 in a backyard chicken and duck flock in Leavenworth County, Kansas. This is the first finding of HPAI in the Central flyway, and the fourth state to report H5N2 in the last two weeks.
CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time.
According to APHIS, samples from the flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, and APHIS is working closely with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to respond to the finding. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.
As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area.
USDA stress that these virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.