State warns of avian flu

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture on Tuesday warned Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be vigilant because of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific migratory bird path.

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The Hawaii Department of Agriculture on Tuesday warned Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be vigilant because of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific migratory bird path.

Hawaii bird and poultry owners are encouraged to institute and maintain good biosecurity measures, which include good sanitation practices and making sure that their birds do not come in contact with other wild and migratory birds.

“Hawaii may be geographically far from other land masses, but some migratory birds do fly to Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, in a statement. “Bird owners, particularly those who keep their birds outdoors should take precautions, be vigilant and report any symptoms of diseased or dead birds in their flocks.”

Since December 2014, there have been several confirmed outbreaks of HPAI H5 in California, Utah, Nevada and Idaho. In March, new infected premises were also detected in Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. The strain that is circulating is a mix of the highly pathogenic Asian and low pathogenic North American strains and has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from the current strains of HPAI to be low.

No human cases of these strains have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally.

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Poultry and bird owners in Hawaii who notice high mortality in their poultry or birds should contact the HDOA, Division of Animal Industry at 483-7106 to report their losses.

For more information on avian influenza, go to the HDOA website at hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/ldc/adconcerns/aiinfo.