U.S. birds affected by 2022-2023 HPAI outbreak surpasses 60 million

Detections in Iowa, South Dakota turkey flocks push number higher.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

November 1, 2023

1 Min Read
Photo credit: pixabay

The total number of birds in the U.S. affected by the 2022/2023 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak officially surpassed 60 million birds this week, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and APHIS confirmed Oct. 31 another positive case of HPAI in Buena Vista County, Iowa. The affected site is a commercial turkey flock of 30,000 birds. APHIS also reported a turkey flock of 29,700 birds in Beadle County, South Dakota, had been confirmed with the virus, as well as an upland gamebird operation of 296,500 birds in Chilton County, Alabama.

IDALS said commercial and backyard flock owners should continue to prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials.

A highly contagious viral disease, HPAI can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through the droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, both of which can contaminate dust and soil.

Signs of HPAI may include:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs

  • Lethargy and/or lack of energy and appetite

  • Decrease in egg production

  • Soft, thin-shelled and/or misshapen eggs

  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks

  • Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)

  • Stumbling and/or falling down

  • Diarrhea

Additional information is available from APHIS here.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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