HPAI hits close to home

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

WESSON — US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports a new outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Copiah County. HPAI has affected 58.39 million poultry birds in the US over the past year and has caused increases in egg and meat prices.

Copiah County’s outbreak is at a poultry producer although no further specifics can be given. The first case of HPAI was confirmed last Friday but information was released Tuesday and 30 birds have been affected thus far.

Mississippi’s first detection of HPAI in domestic birds was at a facility in Lawerence County where 34,400 birds were affected. The second detection came in Leake County last week where 89,800 birds were affected by the disease.

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Some protective actions around birds to follow include:

  • As a general rule, people should avoid wild birds and observe them only from a distance
  • Avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died
  • People who work with poultry and wild birds should receive the annual influenza (flu) vaccine. This action reduces the potential for genetic changes in avian influenza that may render the virus more apt to infect people, thus increasing the potential of pandemic influenza

HPAI has also been detected in wild birds in Mississippi but no new cases have been reported in several weeks. Hunter harvested birds or already found dead wild birds positive with HPAI total 191 in Mississippi.

Birds affected included barred owls, bald eagles, vultures, red-tailed hawks, Ross’s Geese, Snow Geese, Blue Geese, blue-winged teal and wood ducks. MDWFP Waterfowl program coordinator Houston Havens said reports of suspect HPAI cases in wild birds had slowed down considerably in January.