BLACKFOOT — The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus in a flock of domestic chickens in Bingham County.
This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in domestic birds this season. HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can cause high death loss of all domestic and wild birds. Signs of HPAI in domestic poultry frequently include sudden death, decreased appetite and activity, breathing difficulty and dark combs and wattles.
The ISDA strongly recommends poultry owners reinforce biosecurity measures for their flocks and prevent wild waterfowl from interacting with domestic birds. Essential biosecurity practices include limiting the number of people who interact with your birds, washing hands before and after handling the birds and having dedicated clothing and tools for each flock.
Activities, where birds from multiple properties come in close contact, are high risk and heavily discouraged. Bird owners should avoid public venues with birds of unknown health status, such as livestock exhibitions or bird auctions. People who spend time in areas with high waterfowl traffic should also take precautions, as they (especially their shoes) could become contaminated and spread the virus.
The virus has continued to persist in migratory wild waterfowl since the 2022 outbreak, creating a greater opportunity for domestic birds to be exposed to the virus. HPAI is transmitted between birds through close contact (mucous), fecal matter and sometimes as an aerosol. The virus is carried on objects such as tools, vehicles, clothes and boots, which can transfer the virus from one location to another.
HPAI is a reportable disease in Idaho, and veterinarians are required to report positive detections to the ISDA. Because of the large impact the disease can have on the poultry industry, it is essential for poultry owners to be vigilant in monitoring for illness. Visit the ISDA website to learn more about the disease and access the submission form to contact ISDA’s state veterinarians.
It is rare for humans to become infected, but symptoms may include conjunctivitis, fever, lethargy, aches, coughing, or diarrhea. Being in direct contact with domestic birds is the highest risk activity. When USDA guidelines for cooking are followed, HPAI is not a foodborne illness.