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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in New York State

On February 19, 2022, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial flock of six chickens and two guinea hens. The two guinea hens and three chickens died suddenly over a three-day period. Swabs submitted to the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) and the National Veterinary Service Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the presence of HPAI. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYS AGM) is working closely with USDA APHIS on a joint incident response. The premises have been quarantined and the remaining birds euthanized. Additional surveillance and testing in designated zones will be carried out by USDA and NYS AGM.

What is HPAI?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is a very contagious disease caused by an influenza Type A virus of the Orthomyxoviridae family. Type A influenza viruses can infect human, swine, equine and avian species but occur naturally in wild waterfowl which do not show any clinical signs. When wild waterfowl mix with domestic poultry, they can transmit the virus. Types B and C influenza viruses only infect humans. Influenza virus classification into types A, B or C  are based on variations in their nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix protein (MP) antigens. Further subtyping is based on the surface antigens Hemagglutinin (16 H types) and Neuraminidase (9 N types). Finally, avian influenza viruses are classified as either high or low pathogenicity based on genetic sequencing. Almost all highly pathogenic avian influenza strains or types belong to H5, H7 and sometimes H9.

Have other cases been detected in the US?

The virus has been detected in Europe since last year and in Canada recently. In mid-January, the first cases in the US were detected in South Carolina in wild birds. To date, the virus has been found in wild birds in many additional states and in commercial turkey flocks in Kentucky and Indiana, commercial broiler chickens in Kentucky and non-commercial backyard flocks in Virginia and Maine.

What are the clinical signs of HPAI and what should veterinarians do if they suspect HPAI?

HPAI clinical signs are variable but can include all or a combination of the following:

  • sudden high mortality
  • respiratory signs (sneezing, coughing and gasping)
  • oculonasal discharge
  • edema of face and cyanosis of combs and wattles
  • diarrhea
  • hemorrhage on skin of shanks or breast
  • severe egg production drops
  • neurological signs

If you suspect HPAI in a patient at your clinic or at a client's farm, please call any of the following numbers for further instructions.

New York State Ag and Markets – Division of Animal Industry - (518) 457-3502

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - (866) 536-7593

New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Lab - (607) 253-3900

Links for further information: