(WJW/WFXR) — After bird flu was found in three ducks in the Carolinas earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reminding hunters, farmers, and anyone else who works with birds to be vigilant.
According to officials, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed three findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds – two in Colleton County, S.C., and one in Hyde County, N.C. — between Jan. 14 and Jan. 18. All three findings are H5N1 HPAI.
While Eurasian H5 avian influenza — the strain found — is not considered a high risk to humans, the illness can quickly affect bird populations, the USDA says.
This same strain of flu decimated part of the U.S. turkey industry in 2015, leaving more than 50 million birds dead in what the USDA has called the “most serious animal health disease incident” in the country’s history.
Infected birds may not show symptoms at first, but ones to look out for include difficulty breathing, purple discoloration on legs and a decrease in egg production, according to the USDA.
The agency says those handling birds should wear gloves and work in the open air in order to help contain spread. Anyone cooking eggs or poultry at home is advised to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.
Find out more about the bird flu in the USDA PDF below:
All current cases can be found here.