Bird flu found in Fayette County backyard flock, the third detection in KY this year

In an alert Friday, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture reported a confirmed case of avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu,” in a backyard flock of “mixed-species birds” in Fayette County.

The case is the third of its kind reported in the state this year, after two outbreaks were detected at commercial operations in Webster and Fulton counties in February.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, which is contagious and deadly to birds, but poses little risk to humans.

The KDA did not release specific information regarding the location of the confirmed case in Fayette County. The site has been quarantined and is being surveilled to help stop the spread of the bird flu.

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“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Office of the State Veterinarian is working alongside animal health officials at both the federal and state government to contain this incident of avian influenza,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles stated in a release, in part.

The bird flu is not a food safety risk, officials said, but it is a deadly threat to commercial and backyard birds. The agency urged birdkeepers to take steps to protect their flock.

“The virus is carried by free flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. Domestic birds can be infected when a wild bird enters their premise or droppings land in an area near domestic flocks,” the release notes.

Symptoms of the virus include:

  • Decreased water and feed consumption

  • Respiratory symptoms

  • High mortality

In May, the KDA cleared both the commercial operations in the state with outbreaks found in February.

The bird flu has been confirmed in 507 flocks across 41 states in the U.S. so far in 2022, according to the USDA. Two hundred and seventy-four of those are backyard flocks, compared to 233 commercial. The USDA reports 120 birds were affected in the Fayette County flock as of Oct. 6.

Iowa leads the nation in terms of most birds affected by the outbreak, at more than 13.3 million.

Ag officials: 2 Kentucky poultry sites cleared after bird flu outbreak in February

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