Bird flu confirmed in wild duck in South Carolina
Poultry farmers should review their biosecurity safeguards for their flocks against avian influenza following the discovery of the highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 variant in a wild duck in South Carolina, said the USDA. Highly pathogenic avian influenza can spread rapidly and wipe out a flock.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it confirmed avian influenza in a wild American wigeon, a species of dabbling duck, following preliminary tests at Clemson University. A hunter collected the wigeon in Colleton County, about 50 miles west of Charleston and part of the low country along the South Carolina coast.
“Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds,” said APHIS. Owners should prevent contact between wild birds and their flocks, it said. The virus was considered to pose a low risk of infection to humans.
A flock of turkeys in Chesterfield County, on the South Carolina border with North Carolina and 50 miles southeast of Charlotte, was culled in April 2020 after it was infected with the H7N3 version of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The 2014-15 epidemic of “high path” avian influenza was the largest animal health disaster in the United States. Nearly 50 million birds, mostly laying hens and turkeys, died. The largest losses, 32 million birds, were in Iowa.