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Avian influenza confirmed in south central Oklahoma

Backyard chickens
Todd Johnson
Backyard chickens

Highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in a poultry flock in Carter County Oklahoma earlier this week.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Conservation, avian influenza is unlikely to be contracted by humans or other livestock, but it is extremely contagious and fatal to birds in almost all cases.

Paxton Smith is a migratory game bird biologist with ODWC. He said the birds gathering for migration in the fall can spread the disease rapidly.

“While they're doing that, they're sort of mixing with other populations of birds. And some might become exposed to bird flu, which could be novel to them. And then that's when it becomes dangerous.

Smith said hunters should be cautious this fall, follow CDC guidelines regarding bird flu and harvesting wild birds. For those who have poultry flocks, Smith said hunters should not bring their game birds back home if the birds are suspected to have HPAI.

Symptoms of HPAI in chickens and other domesticated birds include decrease in egg production, quietness among the flock, and swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, wattle, and legs.

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Britny (they/them) reports for StateImpact Oklahoma with an emphasis on science and environment.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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