HPAI bird flu cases cause concern among backyard birds, advice from a veterinarian

MARYLAND – The highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI is spreading quickly among birds. Veterinary experts are working to save the birds who haven’t been exposed.

HPAI is a respiratory disease of birds caused by influenza, which is common in wild birds. Unfortunately, some subtypes of the virus-like H5N1 can cause severe illness and even death in poultry. We’re told it can be passed along from bird to bird through feces.

A veterinarian tells 47 ABC, they’re most worried about wild birds passing it onto backyard birds and even entire flocks. “If this does affect a poultry farm, and it spreads throughout a chicken barn, we’re looking at the whole barn of chickens possibly being contaminated, dying, or having to be depopulated which no one wants to think about,” says Dr. Marianna Bailey, a veterinarian at Queenstown Veterinary hospital. She also says, “Secure any food containers or bins that you have outside and consider if you do have backyard chickens, maybe remove bird feeders from your yard or stop filling them up for the time being until we feel like this is better under control.”

Dr. Bailey also tells us. symptoms to look out for are lethargy, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, discoloration or swelling around the legs and head, a drop in egg production, and diarrhea.

If your birds are sick, you’re asked to immediately call the USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

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