LDWF: So-called ‘Bird Flu’ in the U.S., but not Louisiana

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022

An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or bird flu, seen in parts of the U.S. this year has not been detected here, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the current risk of the outbreak to be low to the general public even in states where HPAI has been seen. While bird flu rarely affects humans, it can sometimes be deadly.

LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour and LDWF Non-game Ornithologist Rob Dobbs do not recommend curtailing outdoor or bird-related recreational activities in Louisiana.

However, they do recommend following standard protective practices when dealing with birds and when coming into contact with surfaces or objects, such as bird feeders, that may be contaminated by bird saliva, mucous or feces.

Those protective practices include:

  • Observe wild birds from a distance, avoiding direct contact with them.
  • Clean bird feeders and bird baths regularly, about every two weeks, by scrubbing away debris and soaking in a diluted bleach solution for 10 minutes.
  • Always wear rubber gloves while cleaning bird feeders and bird baths, preferably in an outdoor setting, never where food preparation may occur.
  • If you find a dead bird in your yard, avoid touching it, but collect it in a plastic bag while wearing rubber gloves, then dispose of the carcass in an outdoor garbage bin.

HPAI is affecting wild birds and domestic poultry across much of North America, primarily in the Midwest and along the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and other agencies have detected bird flu in wild birds in 34 states, the closest in Texas and Alabama, and in commercial and backyard poultry flocks in 29 states.

Only one human case of bird flu has been confirmed by the CDC in the U.S. during this outbreak. The case affected a commercial poultry industry worker in Colorado.

LDWF continues to monitor wildlife health statewide, ensuring awareness of any potential threat to citizens of Louisiana.

For more information on the bird flu outbreak and bird feeder care, please visit:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/avian-influenza-outbreak-should-you-take-down-your-bird-feeders/