US - A Eurasian/North American H5N2 avian influenza virus has been detected in a wild mallard duck in Fergus County, Montana, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).
No illness or mortalities in domestic poultry in the US have been detected. The sample was taken from a hunter-harvested bird through routine surveillance.
“This appears to be one of the strains we saw during the outbreak in 2014 and 2015,” said Dr Jack Shere, USDA Chief Veterinarian. “This finding serves as a powerful reminder that there is still avian influenza circulating in wild birds, and producers and industry need to continue to be vigilant about biosecurity to protect domestic poultry.”
Wild migratory waterfowl are a natural reservoir for avian influenza, and these viruses can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
USDA said that 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. More information is also provided through the organisation's 'Defend the Flock' educational campaign.
Further advice from USDA urged hunters to dress game birds in the field whenever possible and practice good biosecurity to prevent any potential disease spread, and urged bird owners to prevent contact between domestic and wild birds.
The H5N2 virus is not the same strain that has been spreading around Europe and Asia in recent months.
You can visit the avian flu page by clicking here.