The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) has received confirmation of multiple cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus in two separate flocks of domestic chickens in Gooding County and Caribou County. The affected flocks appear to be unrelated.
HPAI is a viral disease and requires rapid response because it is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens. ISDA will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to respond to cases. The public is encouraged to check the ISDA website for updates, including affected counties and number of cases.
It is uncommon for humans to become infected with avian influenzas, 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.
HPAI is carried by waterfowl (geese and ducks) along their migratory path. Idaho is within the Pacific Flyway. Domestic birds and poultry are very susceptible to morbidity and mortality once infected. HPAI is transmitted between birds through close contact (mucous), fecal matter, and sometimes as an aerosol. It is often carried on objects such as tools, vehicles, clothes, and boots, which can transfer the virus from one location to another.
Poultry (Domestic Birds) Information
Signs of HPAI in domestic poultry frequently include decreased appetite and activity, respiratory difficulty, dark combs and wattles, and unexplained mortality.
It is essential for poultry owners to be vigilant in monitoring for illness and contacting the ISDA State Veterinarian immediately when HPAI symptoms are confirmed. HPAI is a reportable disease in Idaho, and veterinarians are required to report positive detections to the ISDA.
The best form of flock protection is maintaining strong biosecurity standards. Biosecurity includes 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. More information can be found through ISDA and USDA:
USDA APHIS | Defend the Flock Program
Avian Species – Idaho State Department of Agriculture
With fair season approaching, ISDA has developed guidance for organizers of poultry exhibitions and exhibitors. These materials can be found on the ISDA website.
Wild Bird Information
Anyone who comes across a sick or dead wild bird should refrain from interacting with it and should contact IDFG at https://idfg.idaho.gov/conservation/wildlife-health.