Avian influenza is a disease caused by viruses that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds. Avian influenza is further categorized based on the ability of the virus to produce disease in domestic poultry:

  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus strains are extremely infectious, often fatal to poultry, and can spread rapidly. HPAI can circulate freely in wild birds without sign of illness and infect domestic poultry causing severe and fatal illness. Some species of wild birds, such as raptors, also experience high mortality rates.
  • Low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus strains occur naturally in wild migratory waterfowl and shorebirds without causing illness. LPAI can infect domestic poultry, creating little or no signs of illness.

HPAI detections

The current HPAI strain has been detected in both wild birds and commercial and backyard flocks in the U.S. As of July 8, 2022, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories, in coordination with the NDA, have confirmed the first case of HPAI in a backyard (non-commercial) flock of domestic birds in Nevada.


Any birds found to be sick should be immediately quarantined and reported to the USDA at (866) 536-7593 or the NDA by emailing NDA State Veterinarian at pmundschenk@agri.nv.gov.


Three or more wild bird mortalities should be reported to the Nevada Department of Wildlife at (775) 688-1500 or nate.lahue@ndow.org.  


Biosecurity recommendations

  • Wash hands before and after coming in contact with birds.
  • Limit the number of people that come into contact with your flock to those necessary for their care.
  • Use personal protective equipment such as shoe covers, gloves, hair and clothing covers.
  • Clean and disinfect equipment before and after each use.
  • Do not share tools or supplies between flocks.
  • Flocks should be housed in enclosures that prevent any exposure to wild birds or waterfowl, such as barns or similar covered, secure areas.
  • Avoid attracting wild birds and waterfowl by securing feed and not using wild bird feeders on or near the premises.
  • Quarantine new birds or birds returning to the flock for 30 days before (re)introduction.
  • Quarantine sick birds immediately and report to the USDA at (866) 536-7593 or the NDA State Veterinarian at pmundschenk@agri.nv.gov.

Read more about biosecurity practices to protect against HPAI at USDA Defend the Flock.


Human health and safety

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern. As of April 21, 2022, no human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S.


Consumers are still encouraged to practice proper food safety handling, including washing hands before and after handling poultry or eggs, and cooking them to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F to kill bacteria and viruses.


State Veterinarian advice for fairs, bird shows and events

With the detection of HPAI in Nevada and the need to practice strict biosecurity to prevent further infection and spread, the NDA recommends the suspension of poultry shows, events, and exhibitions. It is critical that bird owners limit the exposure of their flocks to wild birds and other domestic flocks, to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease. Flock owners should also limit the introduction of new birds into their flocks. The NDA encourages event organizers to consider the absence of birds as an opportunity to educate the public about avian influenza, considerations for bird welfare, and biosecurity measures through exhibitor posters, displays or virtual shows.