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State officials confirm case of avian flu found in Sequoyah County

Man saved from blaze by son's cackling chickens
Posted at 6:43 AM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 07:43:15-04

SEQUOYAH COUNTY — A case of highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) has been found and confirmed in Sequoyah County on Sunday, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture says.

The positive case was found in a commercial poultry flock. This comes nearly a month after the first case of the avian flu was found in a wild duck from Payne County.

Beginning on May 1, all poultry exhibitions, public sales and swap meets are banned in the state of Oklahoma until further notice in order to halt any potential spread of this virus.

The ban is set to end on July 30, unless evidence shows it should be extended.

Dr. Rod Hall, State Veterinarian for Oklahoma, says they are prepared for responding to the avian flu:

“While this case of HPAI is not unexpected, we have prepared for this and are working closely with USDA and livestock producers to control and eradicate this disease from our state. We have activated our Avian Influenza Response Plan and are working diligently with federal partners to prevent further spread of the virus.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent avian flu cases do not present an immediate public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products and there is no risk to the food supply.

State officials have placed a quarantine on the affected premises while federal and state partners work jointly to assess the extent of the infection. Additional surveillance of all poultry flocks, commercial and backyard, will be initiated in the area surrounding the affected premises.

Flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual deaths to state officials. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Signs of avian flu include:

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Soft- or thin-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple/blue discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
  • Gasping for air (difficulty breathing)
  • Coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Stumbling or falling down
  • Diarrhea

Possible cases should also be reported to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture at (405) 522-6141.

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