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Officials describe symptoms of Bird Flu as cases are confirmed in Kentucky amid national outbreak


Bird Flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus, is back. The virus has stalked flocks across the nation for about 20 years now, but for the first time there has been a recorded case of a human infection. Despite this, officials said there is very little threat of infection for humans.

Amanda Potter is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension Agent in Rowan County. She said as of right now there have only been two confirmed cases of Bird Flu in Kentucky with the recent outbreak, two snow geese in Henderson County.

Despite that, she said it is still important for people to know the signs and symptoms of Bird Flu to protect domestic flocks.

“The main symptoms that people are told to look out for are issues with coordination, you may notice droopy wings, lethargy, unwillingness to fly if it is a type of avian that can fly. Of course, things like chickens aren’t really known for their willingness to fly anyway,” said Potter.

Additional signs are head tremors and odd behavior like ducks who seem to want to swim in circles.

Potter added that there are steps people can take to protect themselves and other flocks of birds from infection.

“Don’t harvest, handle, or consume any birds that appear to be sick, or that you found that have already died. Make sure you are harvesting waterfowl outside or in a well-ventilated area. Make sure you’re disinfecting any equipment or tools, and then of course don’t eat, drink, smoke, bring your hands to your mouth if you’re cleaning these game birds,” said Potter.

If someone suspects a bird might be infected, Potter said to contact their local extension office, or the veterinary diagnostic lab at the University of Kentucky, which has after-hours service. She added that more general information can also be found at local extension offices.