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HPAI Confirmed in Backyard Flock of Birds in Beaufort County

Nov. 4, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, US Department of Agriculture, and Clemson Livestock Poultry Health are responding to bird deaths due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a domestic flock in Beaufort County. Earlier this week, some of these birds tested positive for HPAI caused by influenza virus H5 strain. 

The risk of HPAI transmission to humans or domestic animals is low and is best avoided by not having contact with sick or dead birds. There is no commercial poultry impact at this time. To control the disease and prevent further spread, steps will be taken to reduce the number of birds on Nov. 5, and the area will be cleaned and disinfected next week. 

The virus causing HPAI can be spread through feathers, dirt and fecal material contaminated by infected birds. Handling of sick or dead birds without recommended protective measures increases the risk of transmission. If you find a wild bird or domestic animal in need, it is advised that you contact a wildlife professional to assist the animal.  

If you come into contact with a sick or dead bird, please seek medical attention if you become ill with symptoms of fevers, cough, fatigue, body aches, etc. If you feel ill, you should report your potential exposure to a health care provider and notify the local health department. DHEC recommends monitoring for symptoms for 10 days after the last exposure to a bird with HPAI. DHEC will monitor the health of those people with exposure to the birds in the recent past and those assisting with the response to the backyard flock. 

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