According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, samples collected in January by USDA-Wildlife Services from a hunter-harvested blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza strain: H5N1 220.127.116.11b Eurasian. This follows similar reports of the H5N1 Eurasian strain from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador) this past fall and winter (2021-2022).
This strain has been documented in Europe since early 2021.No known human infections with Eurasian H5 viruses have occurred in the United States.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says these findings are not unexpected, as wild birds can be infected with HPAI and show no signs of illness. They can carry the disease to new areas when migrating. APHIS anticipates additional wild bird findings as robust wild bird sampling program continues into the spring.
FWC is monitoring for HPAI in birds found sick or dead of unknown causes and highlights ways to help prevent HPAI spread:
- Report bird mortalities so die-offs can be investigated and tested.
- Prevent contact of domestic or captive birds with wild birds (especially waterfowl).
- Do not handle sick/dead wildlife. If it is necessary to do so then wear impermeable gloves, wash hands with soap and water, and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
- Hunters and others handling birds should follow routine precautions listed below when handling wild birds.