(CTN News) – Sullivan County has been affected by an outbreak of avian flu.
Sullivan County Public Health was notified of an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Flu influenza in a multi-species flock.
An outbreak of H5N1 influenza has been confirmed in the laboratory, according to health officials.
It is believed that wild waterfowl may have contaminated the flock of chickens, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl.
Over 100 birds have died from this infection as of Monday, while the remainder of the 116 birds were euthanized over the weekend.
In February, the federal Department of Agriculture confirmed the detection of avian flu at a turkey processing facility in Dubois County, Indiana. In the United States, this was the first confirmed case since 2020.
Several cases have been reported since that initial case in Fulton, Ulster, Dutchess, Monroe, Orleans, and Suffolk counties. There have been reports of wild birds in Wayne, Suffolk, Seneca and Cayuga counties that have been infected with Avian Flu influenza.
According to Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw, no human cases have been reported due to this particular outbreak among local fowl.
But historically, pandemic influenza outbreaks have been triggered in animals and spread to humans, so we are monitoring the situation closely with the New York State Department of Health.
An individual who comes into contact with an ill bird may develop a human infection. Among the symptoms in birds are diarrhea, malaise, loss of egg production and/or misshaped eggs, anorexia, discolored combs, wattles, hocks and skin around the eyes, neurological changes (discoordination), death without apparent cause, and swelling.
In accordance with the World Health Organization, most cases of H5N1 infection in humans have been linked to close contact with infected live or dead birds or with environments contaminated with H5N1.
According to medical experts, the virus does not easily infect humans and appears to spread from person to person unusually. Food that has been properly prepared and thoroughly cooked cannot spread the disease.
It has been reported that the spread of bird Avian Flu viruses from one infected person to a close contact is extremely rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has only spread to a small number of people when it has occurred.
However, monitoring for human infection and person-to-person spread is extremely important for public health due to the possibility that bird Avian Flu viruses could change and become more infectious.
Inhalation of viral particles and the entry of viral particles into mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth are possible exposures that could result in infection. Viruses are shed through saliva, feces, and mucus. Humans can be infected by droplets or dust.
McGraw advised that if you have had contact with an ill bird and are experiencing symptoms such as conjunctivitis, upper respiratory symptoms, fever, body aches, or symptoms consistent with any flu-like illness, you should call the Sullivan County Health Department at 845-292-5910, ext. 0.
In order to confirm a human infection after exposure to an ill bird, laboratory testing will be necessary.
Call 845-292-5910 and ask for the Epidemiology Department, or visit the state health department’s website.
Can humans get avian flu 2022?
As of 03 November 2022, a total of 239 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus have been reported from four countries within the Western Pacific Region since January 2003 (Table 1). Of these cases, 134 were fatal, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 56%.