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Avian influenza confirmed in 3 nestling cormorants in Scottsdale park

Posted June 8, 2022


PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa has confirmed the detection of avian influenza in three nestling neotropical cormorants found by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) personnel responding to a report of dead birds in Eldorado Park in Scottsdale.

Surveillance, sampling and testing efforts were conducted through AZGFD and the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) before being sent to NVSL, which confirmed the cases on June 7.

These are the first detections of avian influenza H5N1 in wild birds in Arizona. At this point there have been no confirmed cases in domestic poultry in the state.

This year, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has been spreading across the United States. The first detection in domestic poultry occurred in February 2022 in Indiana. To date, more than 37 million birds have been depopulated due to the disease.

Generally, wild birds are resistant to HPAI. However, the Eurasian H5N1 strain currently circulating in North America is different and has caused the death of large numbers of wild birds. Bald eagles, great horned owls, Canada geese, black vultures, waterfowl, and raptors have been among the species affected.

Currently, the transmission risk of avian influenza from infected birds to people remains low, but people should take basic protective measures (i.e., wearing gloves, face masks and handwashing) if contact with wild birds or domestic poultry cannot be avoided.

AZGFD will be reaching out to falconers and wildlife rehabilitation facilities about the detection and will advise them of precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

Due to this detection and the continued spread of HPAI in the United States, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Arizona Department of Agriculture suggest these guidelines:

Care of bird feeders in your yard

Report sick and/or dead birds

Practice strict biosecurity