Protect against ‘bird flu’ with biosecurity measures

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding owners of poultry flocks and pet birds to practice biosecurity measures and report illnesses. A strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been detected across eastern and midwestern states, with most recent detections in Utah and Idaho. To mitigate impacts of the disease, it is important that bird owners quarantine and report sick birds to the USDA at (866) 536-7593 or the NDA state veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell at

“Using strict biosecurity measures and protecting flocks from any exposure to wild birds or waterfowl is crucial to prevent infection and further spread,” said Dr. Mitchell.

Avian influenza viruses can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds. HPAI is extremely infectious and can spread rapidly. HPAI strains can circulate freely in wild birds without sign of illness but can infect domestic poultry causing severe and fatal illness. Some species of wild birds, such as raptors, also experience high mortality rates. Proper biosecurity measures are outlined on the NDA website and include:

• Wash hands before and after coming in contact with birds.

• Limit the number of people that come into contact with your flock to those necessary for their care.

• Use personal protective equipment such as shoe covers, gloves, hair and clothing covers.

• Clean and disinfect equipment before and after each use.

• Do not share tools or supplies between flocks.

• Flocks should be housed in enclosures that prevent any exposure to wild birds or waterfowl, such as barns or similar covered, secure areas.

• Avoid attracting wild birds and waterfowl by securing feed and not using wild bird feeders on or near the premises.

•  Quarantine sick birds immediately and report to the USDA (866) 536-7593 or NDA state veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell at

• Three or more wild bird mortalities should be reported to the Nevada Department of Wildlife at (775) 688-1500 or

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern, and no human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S. Consumers are still encouraged to practice proper food safety handling, including washing hand before and after handling poultry or eggs, and cooking them to an internal temperature of 165 °F to kill bacteria and viruses.

For more information on avian influenza and safety measures, visit