Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a serious and deadly disease in domestic poultry. The 2015 outbreak of HPAI was the largest and most expensive in US history. Oregon had two HPAI detections in backyard flocks. Avian influenza findings can negatively impact the poultry trade of the state and the entire country.
Avian influenza (AI) is an infectious viral disease of birds (especially wild water fowl such as ducks and geese), often causing no apparent signs of illness. AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals. However, to date no human infections with these viruses have been detected.
AI viruses are divided into two groups based on their ability to cause disease in poultry: high pathogenicity (HPAI) or low pathogenicity (LPAI). Highly pathogenic viruses result in high death rates (up to 100% mortality within 48 hours) in some poultry species. Low pathogenicity viruses also cause outbreaks in poultry, but are not generally associated with severe disease.
One of the main lessons learned in the 2015 HPAI outbreak was that following strict biosecurity practices is key to preventing HPAI infection. Biosecurity is a set of practices designed to reduce the risk of spreading disease from sick birds and birds carrying the virus, to healthy ones. We recommend adding these practices to your routine:
- Restrict access to your property and keep your birds away from other 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.
Routine surveillance testing is conducted at various points around the state. Testing and free status certification is also provided free-of-charge to NPIP participant flocks.
H5/H7 Avian Influenza Free flock certification is an optional category in the NPIP program.
H5/H7 Avian Influenza is a mandatory reportable disease in Oregon.