It's the first time the avian influenza has been detected in a bird since June last year.
Last year 50 millions birds were carrying the devastating H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) reaching over 15 states in the U.S. Now people are being urged to take precautions as the bird flu has now been detected in a wild mallard duck in Alaska and worries are mounting for another outbreak.
It’s the first time HPAI has been detected in 14 months by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who have been carrying out surveillance testing since last years outbreak.
The worry comes from infected birds spreading the virus to farms and other places where food is produced. The avian influenza is commonly affects poultry such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Any farms with wildfowl is urged to review their health procedures for the birds in order to monitor carefully in case of infection. It can also be spread to uninfected birds easily through feathers and faeces.
People are asked to be alert because infected birds don’t always appear sick. Anyone who handles poultry should take precautions to use gloves, wash hands thoroughly and even change clothing.
Despite the worry, the USDA claims the threat to the public is low but they are being cautious after last year’s devastating outbreak that cost poultry exporters millions of dollars. With some countries such as China stopping all U.S. poultry imports, this caused shortages and prices to rise dramatically especially for eggs.