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Avian Influenza

Resources and information about highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.

Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The symptoms can vary from a mild disease with little or no mortality to a highly fatal, rapidly spreading epidemic (highly pathogenic avian influenza) depending on the infecting virus strain, host factors, and environmental stressors.

Spotlight

Avian Influenza: Where to Get Help
Where do I get help when I suspect a health problem in my poultry flock?
Biosecurity For Birds
USDA's Biosecurity For Birds initiative is a highly effective public outreach program that has made millions of people more aware and better prepared to deal with avian influenza. Its target audience is backyard poultry and bird owners, as well as pet bird owners.
Creating a Farm Plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
Critical steps for farms to be prepared for an HPAI outbreak in Pennsylvania including a video on how to create a flock plan.
Video Series: Understanding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
This short video series helps backyard and small flock poultry owners understand HPAI, its symptoms, and how it is spread. Flock owners will learn where to turn for help and how to implement biosecurity practices to safeguard against HPAI.

Latest Avian Influenza News

Avian flu threat re-emerges as new outbreaks are reported in U.S. flocks
March 21, 2017
Penn State avian pathologist Eva Wallner-Pendleton and poultry scientist Gregory Martin discuss recent outbreaks and biosecurity recommendations.
State Agriculture Department stresses importance of vigilance, biosecurity as avian influenza detected in Tennessee
March 11, 2017
Following confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial poultry operation in southcentral Tennessee, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is urging the commonwealth’s poultry producers and backyard poultry enthusiasts to take important steps that can help to protect domestic flocks.
Lancaster Farming: Biosecurity Redux -- Preparing for spring bird migration
February 24, 2017
Coverage of the Poultry Progress Days/Keystone Pork Expo, where Gregory Martin, poultry science extension educator, and Pa. Department of Agriculture officials discussed avian flu risk.

What Are We Doing?

Penn State Extension logoPenn State faculty members and extension educators are serving on a statewide avian flu task force chaired by Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. The group is developing action plans and procedures related to biosecurity; depopulation and disposal of infected flocks; issues relevant to small or backyard flocks; alternatives for youth poultry exhibitors at county fairs and other shows where live birds have been prohibited; and other concerns.

In addition, Penn State's Animal Diagnostic Laboratory routinely tests poultry samples for the presence of avian flu viruses and other disease pathogens. In the past, rapid diagnosis by the lab has enabled the state to contain avian flu outbreaks and limit costs.