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  • CCN - Columbus County News

State Warns of Continuing HPAI Outbreak

A backyard flock in Carteret County has tested positive for High Path Avian Influenza (HPAI), according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

This is the first confirmed positive in Carteret County. In late spring and early summer, HPAI was found at nine poultry farms in Johnston and Wayne counties, and recently HPAI was found in a single backyard flock in Wake County, a single backyard flock in Durham County, and two flocks in Union County. No wild or domestic birds have been diagnosed with HPAI in Columbus County during this latest outbreak.

“We have had evidence that the HPAI virus has remained in our resident wild bird population and in migratory waterfowl, so reports of backyard positive flocks are unfortunate, but not surprising,” said State Veterinarian Mike Martin.

This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but is highly contagious to other birds, including commercial and backyard flocks of poultry. The virus is also not considered a food safety threat and infected birds do not enter the food supply.

HPAI spreads between domestic and wild birds during the most active periods for waterfowl. Duckhunters reported the first cases of HPA last year.

The warning signs of HPAI include:

· Reduced energy, decreased appetite, and/or decreased activity

· Lower egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs

· Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles

· Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs

· Difficulty breathing, runny nares (nose), and/or sneezing

· Twisting of the head and neck, stumbling, falling down, tremors and/or circling

· Greenish diarrhea

“The threat of high path avian influenza is nationwide and likely will remain through the fall and winter,” Martin said. “Commercial operations and backyard flock owners should continue to follow strict biosecurity measures including keeping birds enclosed without access to wild birds or other domestic flocks when possible.”

If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away to your local veterinarian, the N.C. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Division at 919.707.3250, or the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System at 919.733.3986.

More information on biosecurity and the signs of HPAI is at If you have questions about migratory birds, hunting, or wild waterfowl found dead on your property, visit the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s website at

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