Game and Fish is asking the public for help with HPAI
Birds in Wyoming test positive again for highly pathogenic avian influenza.
cheyenne – Birds in Wyoming test positive again for highly pathogenic avian influenza. After a hiatus from summer confirmation of bird deaths by HPAI, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory in Laramie confirmed positive results this month in a blue-winged teal and a great horned owl.
“As the bird hunting season either continues or is rapidly approaching and migratory birds are beginning to migrate south, we are asking the public to be on the lookout for dead birds and to be aware of the disease,” he said Jessica Jennings-Gaines, specialist in wildlife and fish diseases.
Game and Fish continues to monitor HPAI, and it’s doing so now has an online reporting tool designed to help the public submit reports directly to the laboratory. The lab asks the public to follow these criteria when reporting birds suspected of being infected with HPAI:
- Any sage grouse, raptor or owl found dead or showing neurological signs.
- Only small birds such as songbirds, sparrows, starlings, pigeons, etc. where a group of five or more have been found dead or show neurological signs. The birds must show signs within a short period of time – 3-4 days with symptoms would be remarkable.
- All suspect birds in counties or species where HPAI has not been documented as of September 1. Check the online map to confirm.
- When a member of the public has concerns about HPAI exposure and requests avian influenza virus testing.
Wyoming had not verified a case of HPAI since June 9 and tested 25 samples over the summer months, all of which came back negative. In August, HPAI was detected in wild birds in 13 states, including Colorado and Utah.
Game and Fish urges hunters who are in the field and handling game meat to take extra precautions. These recommendations come from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s general safety guidelines for hunters who handle wildlife and their tissues:
- Do not touch or eat sick game.
- Begin and prepare the game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear rubber or disposable nitrile gloves when handling or cleaning game.
- After handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or sanitizer and clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke when handling animals.
- Do not feed sick/found dead carcasses/tissues to pets such as dogs and cats.
- All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before consumption.
“HPAI surveillance relies on the help of Wyoming citizens, and we greatly appreciate that help,” said Jennings-Gaines.
(Sara DiRienzo ([email protected]))