Highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza (HPAI) was detected on January 22 in two wild blue-winged teals harvested by hunters in Palm Beach County. HPAI is a virus that can occur in wild aquatic birds and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. The risk to the general public from HPAI H5 infections is low; no human infections with Eurasian H5 viruses have occurred in the United States.

This type of virus can pose a risk to wild and domestic bird populations. Because wild birds can be infected with this virus and not appear sick, we recommend people minimize direct contact with wild birds by using gloves. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water, and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds. Hunters are advised to field dress game birds in the field whenever possible and practice good biosecurity to prevent any potential disease spread. Learn more about precautions hunters should take to reduce the risk of spreading HPAI.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is continuing to monitor for HPAI in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and other partners. We ask everyone to assist this effort by reporting all sightings of birds found sick or dead of unknown causes to the bird mortality database.
Learn more about avian influenza.