The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) was notified of the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in Mississippi. The disease was initially identified in three blue-winged teal harvested by hunters in Issaquena County.
To date, a total of 8 hunter-harvested ducks have tested positive for HPAI. MDWFP staff will continue working with federal and state agencies to monitor waterfowl for HPAI viruses throughout the fall and winter.
Avian influenza is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds (especially waterfowl). The risk to humans from HPAI infections in wild birds is considered to be low, and waterfowl professionals do not currently expect serious impacts to wild waterfowl populations.
General Safety Precautions for Waterfowl Hunters:
· Only harvest birds that act and look healthy.
· Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling harvested birds.
· Process harvested birds outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
· Wear disposable gloves while processing harvested birds.
· Wash hands, utensils, and work surfaces before and after processing birds, as well as before and after handling uncooked meat.
· Keep harvested birds cool until processed, then refrigerate, freeze, or cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.