Avian Influenza Information

What is the Avian Influenza?

Avian Influenza (AI) is a flu virus that may cause illness in domestic poultry, fowl, and birds. There are many strains of the AI virus. Based on the severity of the illness caused by the virus, these strains are put into two classifications, low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic (HPAI). LPAI causes only minor illnesses with a low mortality rate, and HPAI causes severe illnesses and high mortality rates.

How Does AI Spread?

The movement of poultry, equipment, and people has increased the risk of introducing AI into flocks. Birds exposed to the migratory waterfowl are also at increased risk of contracting the virus. Mixing different types of poultry (chickens, turkeys, guineas, etc.) increases the chance of the flock getting AI.

HPAI H5N1 detected in Wichita County is highly contagious among birds but remains a low risk for humans. Individuals should avoid contact with sick or dead birds and practice hygiene and safety measures if trained in animal handling: wearing gloves, masks, and eye protection and thoroughly washing your hands after contact.

HPAI Symptoms in birds:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing, and nasal discharge
  • Water and green diarrhea
  • Lack of energy and poor appetite
  • Drop in egg production or soft-or thin-shelled, misshapen eggs
  • Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
  • Ruffled feathers, listlessness, lethargy

If you have any sick poultry, consult your veterinarian or report them to the TAHC or the USDA right away at 1-800-550-8242. If you find any sick or dead wild birds, report to our local wildfire biologist at 325-203-2037.

For more information about AI