Eurasian H5 avian influenza has been found in genetic material collected from a wild mallard duck tested in Morrow County, Oregon, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported on December 4. The duck had been harvested by a hunter.
According to a press release from the agency, tests conducted in November on those samples from the duck were unable to determine the exact strain of the virus or whether it was of the high pathogenic or low pathogenic variety.
The bird was tested as part of APHIS’ continued efforts to prepare for any potential findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza. APHIS and its partners worked throughout the fall to put plans in place to address the disease, should it resurface in the United States. Samples have been collected from both hunter-harvested birds and from wild bird mortalities.
To date, more than 48 million birds in the United States have been affected by avian influenza since December 2014, but the last case of avian influenza to be confirmed prior to this detection occurred in June.
The USDA in November reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that all cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in commercial poultry flocks have been resolved and the U.S. can declare itself free of the virus.