Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

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Commonly Infected Wildlife

Highly pathogenic avian influenza can infect all birds, including wild birds like hawks and geese, and domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys.

Is This Animal Infected?

Some birds infected with HPAI will exhibit neurological symptoms - tremors, head tilting, lethargy, loss of coordination, inability to fly or walk properly, or trouble standing upright. HPAI is fatal, so often the indicator is a discovery of multiple dead birds together.

Can I Get It?

Avian influenza does not present an immediate public health concern. On rare occasions it has infected humans and other animals. Use common sense precautions and do not handle sick or dead birds.

Is it Safe to Eat Meat?

It is safe to eat poultry and wild game birds because normal cooking temperatures are hot enough to kill the virus. Make sure to cook your meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hunters are advised to take common sense precautions when handling harvested birds in the field or at home. They should be aware that it is possible to transport avian influenza viruses on boats, waders, or other equipment, especially if it isn’t dry before moving it from one site to another.

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Current Situation (Spring 2022)

  • Since January, HPAI has been detected in Canada and in the United States, along all North American flyways.
  • In early March, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the detection of HPAI in a commercial flock in Stoddard County, and additional detections have spread across the state.
  • A national multi-agency response to increase surveillance in wild birds is underway. MDC has contacted wildlife rehabilitators, falconer groups, and other key stakeholders to assist with surveillance.
  • MDC has confirmed that wild birds have tested positive for HPAI in several Missouri counties. (Refer to map and table below for current data.)
  • Bird Feeder Update: It is not necessary to remove backyard bird feeders. Songbirds do not appear to be major carriers of the virus, so widespread removal of feeders is not an effective way to reduce the spread. Homeowners who also keep chickens or other domestic birds can remove feeders as a precautionary measure.
  • Human Health Update: On April 28, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first detection of avian influenza in a person in the U.S. The case was not in Missouri, and the person had direct exposure to poultry with presumptive H5N1 bird flu. The patient reported fatigue for a few days as their only symptom and has recovered. The CDC still considers the risk to humans/general public to be low.
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Missouri map showing counties with wild birds that tested positive for HPAI
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Positives in Wild Birds

County Species Most Recent Case: Collection Date & Species
Barton Mallard 3/11/2022 (Mallard)
Buchanan Hooded Merganser, Snow Goose 3/18/2022 (Hooded Merganser)
Callaway Greater Scaup 3/25/2022 (Greater Scaup)
Chariton Bald Eagle, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose 4/3/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Clay American White Pelican, Canada Goose 3/9/2022 (Canada Goose)
Holt Snow Goose 3/16/2022 (Snow Goose)
Howard Bald Eagle 4/4/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Jackson Ross's Goose, Snow Goose 3/22/2022 (Ross's Goose, Snow Goose)
Jefferson Wood Duck 4/4/2022 (Wood Duck)
Laclede Bald Eagle 4/28/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Lewis Canada Goose 3/21/2022 (Canada Goose)
Lincoln Bald Eagle 3/17/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Miller Bald Eagle 4/13/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Monroe Bald Eagle 3/15/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Pettis Ross's Goose 3/7/2022 (Ross's Goose)
Platte Canada Goose 3/13/2022 (Canada Goose)
Randolph Snow Goose, Ring-necked Duck 4/8/2022 (Ring-necked Duck)
Scott Bald Eagle 3/28/2022 (Bald Eagle)
St. Charles Bald Eagle, Canada Goose 4/8/2022 (Canada Goose)
St. Clair Bald Eagle 3/16/2022 (Bald Eagle)
St. Louis Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, Hooded Merganser 4/22/2022 (Canada Goose)
Taney Bald Eagle 4/16/2022 (Bald Eagle)
Vernon American White Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Red-Tailed Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk 4/7/2022 (Red-Tailed Hawk)