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BIRD HUNTERS REMINDED TO TAKE HPAI PRECAUTIONS

09/26/2022

HARRISBURG, PA - Test results have revealed more than 30 Canada geese found sick or dead recently at Griffin Reservoir in Lackawanna County were infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), serving as a reminder the 2022 HPAI outbreak continues.

The public is urged to continue reporting wild bird mortality events to the Game Commission, and hunters who handle wild birds are advised to continue to take precautions.

A number of hunting seasons for wild birds are either underway or will begin soon. If hunters properly handle the wild birds they harvest, they not only protect themselves, but help reduce the risk that this extremely contagious disease spreads to other birds.

Bird hunters should:

  • Harvest only healthy-looking wild birds.
  • Wear gloves when handling any wild birds.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after handling wild birds.
  • Dress harvested wild birds in the field.
  • Change clothing as needed, especially if visibly soiled or if any wild birds made contact with clothing.
  • Change clothing, including footwear, before coming in contact with any pet birds or domestic poultry
  • Wash all equipment, tools, and work surfaces with soap and water, then disinfect with a 10% household bleach solution. Allow to air dry or rinse after 10 minutes of contact time.

HPAI can infect humans, though just one human HPAI case has been reported in the United States during this outbreak.

Since January 2022, the Game Commission, working jointly with the Wildlife Futures Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has sampled and tested nearly 1,000 wild birds collected from almost every county in the Commonwealth. HPAI had been detected in 47 wild birds While these numbers may seem low, it is important to note that not every bird during a mortality event is tested. The disease is presumed to be spread statewide has likely been responsible for the deaths of thousands of wild birds in Pennsylvania. This recent event at Griffin Reservoir is evidence that the HPAI outbreak had not yet run its course.

HPAI, which is particularly contagious and lethal to domestic poultry, caused major impacts to agriculture in Pennsylvania, too. Statewide, the disease has infected 17 commercial poultry flocks and one backyard flock, leading to the culling of more than 4.2 million birds.

Any sick or dead domestic birds should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852. Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Game Commission at 1-833-PGC-WILD or online using the Wildlife Health Survey tool at www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.

MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau - 717-705-6541

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