USDA confirms highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild American wigeon in South Carolina

USDA confirms highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild American wigeon in South Carolina

The following information was distributed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture on January 18, 2022. 

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic Eurasian H5 avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild American wigeon in Colleton County, South Carolina. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in the United States since 2020, when an isolated case of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza was diagnosed in a commercial poultry flock in South Carolina. See the full announcement from USDA APHIS below.

With the recent detections of HPAI in the Canadian province of Newfoundland, this detection in wild birds in the United States is not completely unexpected.  However, it does present a risk for disease introduction to backyard and commercial poultry operations.

There are currently no cases of HPAI in Colorado. However, we are asking you to inform poultry producers and bird owners about HPAI and advise them to increase biosecurity measures to help prevent HPAI from occurring in Colorado. As part of good biosecurity practices, we recommend that flock owners limit any direct and indirect exposure of poultry to wildlife/wildlife areas. Wild birds serve as a reservoir of avian influenza viruses and can transmit the virus to domestic poultry flocks.

What you can do:

It is extremely important for poultry owners to increase biosecurity to protect their birds from HPAI.  The most important biosecurity practices that flock owners can take include limiting exposure of their birds to other flocks and limiting introduction of new birds into their flocks.  The USDA Defend the Flock website has great resources for keeping poultry healthy.

We also strongly encourage poultry producers to enroll as a Secure Food Supply (SFS) participant through our office.  The most important component of ensuring your continuity of business in the face of a HPAI outbreak is to enroll in SFS and have a biosecurity plan in place.  If you would like more information on SFS, please reach out to: [email protected] or 303-263-2407.


It is important for veterinarians and producers to report any suspicious disease events in poultry flocks, including increased morbidity and mortality, to the State Veterinarian’s office at 303-869-9130.  If it is after hours, the voicemail message will indicate which veterinarian is on call.

Additionally, it is vital to submit sick and dead birds to CSU’s veterinary diagnostic lab for HPAI testing. If you have sick birds or birds that have died from unknown causes, help is available at the Colorado Avian Health Call Line at CSU, their number is 970-297-4008.

Thanks for your work and helping to prevent HPAI in Colorado!

Click here to read more from USDA.