Avian Influenza (HPAI) Detected in a Non-Commercial Backyard Flock in Linn County

On May 6, 2022, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial, backyard flock (non-poultry) in Linn County—the first confirmed case in Oregon since 2015. Wild waterfowl can carry the disease without showing symptoms and spread the disease as they naturally move through their migratory pathways. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detection does not present an immediate public health concern.

"We knew HPAI was coming our way after a bald eagle in British Columbia tested positive in early March,” said Dr. Ryan Scholz, State Veterinarian. “Since that detection, we have been hard at work communicating with our commercial poultry producers, veterinarians, and the public on how they can protect their flocks. Now more than ever, all bird owners must practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual deaths so ODA can ensure testing.”

A quick response is needed to prevent the spread of HPAI. The owner of the affected backyard flock reported the deaths and delivered at least one of the birds to Oregon State University’s (OSU) Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for initial sample testing. Samples were also sent to APHIS’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). Meanwhile, ODA quickly quarantined the affected premises. ODA will humanely euthanize any additional birds on the property to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from this farm were not used for food and will not enter the food system. There are no detections in commercial poultry in the state.

ODA and federal partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area, following existing avian influenza response plans. If you find a sick or dying bird, ODA asks that you do not touch it; report it.

If you have a sick or dead bird and suspect Avian Influenza, please contact:

  • Domestic Birds: Oregon Department of Agriculture: 1-800-347-7028
  • Wild Birds: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: 1-866-968-2600  

To limit the risk of disease spread, ODA says that Animal Rescue Entity (ARE) facility inspections with poultry onsite are suspended beginning immediately and extending through June 15th. Once these inspections are reinstated inspectors will:

  • Use a boot wash between site visits to sanitize boots
  • Wear coveralls and change them between location visits
  • Wash and sanitize hands frequently
  • Complete regular vehicle and tire washing
  • Park vehicles in gravel or concrete areas when possible

For more information about HPAI, please visit ODA's Avian Influenza web page. You will learn more about avian influenza, its signs, symptoms, and ways to protect your birds.

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds.  Biosecurity tips for backyard flocks include:

  • Restrict access to your property and keep your birds away from other birds.
  • Mixed species backyard flocks are at higher risk. It is recommended to separate species from each other in backyard flocks at this time.
  • Limit access for multiple species to a common watersource.
  • Cover coops if you can to protect from overflying birds.
  • Keep a designated pair of shoes to wear around your birds, wash clothing after visiting your birds, and use disinfectants correctly.
  • Clean and disinfect cages, poultry equipment, and car tires after visiting a farm store, poultry swap, or other location with birds present.
  • Keep new birds separate from your flock for 30 days; quarantine returning birds from the rest of your flock after visiting a poultry swap or other event.
  • Do not share equipment or supplies with others, but if you must, disinfect it first.
  • Wash hands before and after bird handling.
  • Read more about biosecurity.

Regular hygiene (frequent cleanings) for backyard bird feeders is always recommended, but officials on a joint ODA/WSDA press conference did not call for backyard bird feeders to be taken down, as songbirds are rarely affected by the strain in this outbreak.

Compiled from ODA releases and the joint ODA/WSDA Press Conference held 5.6.22

Updated: 2022-05-09 07:00:00

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association