East Pittsburgh, PA
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March 1, 2024 6:44 pm

Pennsylvania Bird Hunters Cautioned About Bird Flu

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Reinette LeJeune

Bird hunters are reminded by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to take Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) precautions this season. After 30 Canadian geese were found sick or dead at Griffin Reservoir in Lackawanna County, test results were returned confirming suspicions that the geese were infected with HPAI. The public are advised to continue reporting wild bird mortality events to the Game Commission and hunters who handle wild birds are advised to continue to take precautions.

Bird hunters are advised to follow the proper protocol during the hunting season:

  • 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 as well. Only one human case has been reported since the outbreak began in the United States, however it is very important to take precaution.

Within the state of Pennsylvania, HPAI was found in 47 out of 1,000 wild birds, revealing that the outbreak hasn’t yet reached epidemic proportions. It should be noted that HPAI is contagious and lethal to poultry as well as wild birds – already infecting 17 commercial poultry flocks and one backyard flock within the Keystone state. 

Residents are advised to report any sick or dead domestic birds to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852.