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PAYNE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – State officials say they are investigating the first case of avian influenza in Oklahoma’s wild bird population.

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry say a wild duck in Payne County is the first wild bird in Oklahoma to be confirmed to be infected with Eurasian H5 type of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“While Oklahoma has not seen HPAI in a backyard or commercial poultry flock this year, the finding of this single duck adds Oklahoma to a long list of states with confirmed cases of HPAI,” said Dr. Rod Hall, State Veterinarian for Oklahoma. “I encourage poultry owners of all kinds to continue to remain vigilant, practice good biosecurity and report sick or dying birds immediately.”

Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include the following:

  • Decrease in water consumption
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled, misshapen eggs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Incoordination
  • Diarrhea.

Experts stress that the virus can also cause sudden death in birds, even if they are not showing symptoms.

Officials say HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.

At this point, the virus is considered low-risk to people. However, it can be detrimental to poultry species.

“We’re asking that anyone involved with poultry or egg production, from large farms all the way down to backyard flock, review and implement their biosecurity practices to ensure the health and well-being of their flocks,” Dr. Hall said.

So far, there are no known cases of HPAI in domestic birds in Oklahoma.

Since January, there have been 77 confirmed cases of HPAI in domestic flocks in the United States.

If you come across a sick wild bird, call the USDA Wildlife Services at (405) 521-4039.

If a domestic bird becomes sick or dies, call the ODAFF Animal Industry Division at (405) 522-6141.