Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza detected in Arizona
On 6/7/22, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was detected in wild bird populations in Arizona. Owners of backyard poultry flocks are urged to take steps now to protect their birds. This disease affects all classes of poultry including chickens, ducks, turkeys, pheasant, quail, geese, and other species. Migratory waterfowl are the primary spreaders of the virus, however any species of wild bird may harbor and spread the infection while showing no signs of illness.
A University of Arizona ALIRT (Arizona Livestock Incidence Response Team) BOLO was issued in February 2022 when the outbreak was first identified in Indiana:
Identifying Infected Birds:
If you believe you may have infected birds in your flock, contact the State Veterinarian’s office immediately. They can assist in a timely diagnosis and hopefully prevent further spread of the virus to wild bird populations and neighboring backyard flocks (as well as commercial operations).
- Sudden death of otherwise healthy animals
- Lethargy and reduced appetite
- Reduced egg production
- Increased frequency of soft shelled or misshapen eggs
- Swelling or purple discoloration of wattles, comb, legs
- Signs of respiratory disease (nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing)
The prognosis for infected flocks is poor. HPAI is highly contagious and has a very high mortality rate for
domestic poultry (nearly 100%). There is no vaccine or effective treatment. Humane euthanasia is often
the only option for infected flocks.
Protecting Your Backyard Flock
- Eliminate potential points of contact between wild and domestic birds
- Do not feed wild birds on your property
- Exclude wild birds from your coop/run
- Remove other sources of food/water that encourage wild birds to congregate
- Free ranging flocks are most at risk
- Do not attend any poultry shows, exhibits, or swaps that include live birds at this time
- Do not purchase poultry from unknown sources with unknown health history. Only purchase birds from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) certified sources
- Quarantine any newly purchased birds, or birds that have traveled off premises
- Do not allow visitors to your flock, and do not visit other flocks
- Do not share equipment with other bird owners
Further resources on Biosecurity for Backyard Flocks
Track the ongoing outbreak
Report sick/dead birds
- Domestic Birds, contact the State Veterinarian’s Office
- Wild Birds, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Commission
- 602-942-3000 (option 5)
Risks to Human Health:
While there is little risk to human health with this variant of the virus, please follow CDC recommended guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/index.htm) and wear appropriate protective gear (i.e. gloves, masks) if you encounter sick birds (wild or domestic). Deceased birds should be double bagged before reporting to the appropriate agency for testing.
- Arizona Department of Agriculture. (June 2022). HPAI Detected in Arizona Official Memo. [PDF].
- AZ.gov. (n.d.). Poultry:Disaster Preparedness. Arizona Department of Agriculture. Retrieved June 17, 2022
- Swayne, D. (November 2019). Avian Influenza. Merck Veterinary Manual (Online Edition).
- United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (May 2011). Protect Your Birds from Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). Brochure. Program Aid No 2079.