(WFXR) — Reports of avian influenza are spreading through eastern parts of the country — including Virginia — among wild birds, as well as commercial and backyard flocks.

According to officials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 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 HPAI H5N1, the first time this strain has been reported in the U.S. since 2016, acording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since then, additional cases of the HPAI H5N1 and the HPAI H5 strains have been detected in wild birds throughout the Carolinas, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Georgia.

Now, there are reports of HPAI cases among commercial flocks of turkey in Indiana and broiler chickens and turkeys Kentucky, as well as backyard flocks of mixed species birds in northern Virginia, pet chickens in New York, and mixed species birds in Maine. Preliminary genetic sequencing suggests these are also HPAI H5N1 cases, like many of the wild birds, the CDC says.

These are the first HPAI cases among U.S. commercial poultry since 2020.

Back in 2015, a large bird flu outbreak spanning more than a dozen states affected more than 50 million chickens and turkeys. The birds either died from the virus or were destroyed to stop the spread of the disease.

WFXR News’ Amanda Kenney spoke with Dr. Charles Broaddus, the Virginia State Veterinarian, on “Good Day Virginia” about avian influenza and ways to prevent it among flocks.

For more information about warding off bird flu, click here.