Highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza has been confirmed in a wild mallard duck from a state wildlife refuge in Alaska, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced on August 26.
According to APHIS, the highly pathogenic form of H5N2 has not been confirmed in the U.S. – in either wild or commercial birds – since June 2015. That variant of the virus was responsible for the majority of the U.S. poultry losses to avian flu in 2015. However, no cases of avian influenza were confirmed in Alaska during the 2015 outbreak.
The agency advises that anyone involved with poultry production, whether it is a small backyard flock or a large commercial operation, review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds.
The only case of highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in the U.S. in 2016 occurred in January at a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County, Indiana. That case was of the H7N8 serotype. Nine other turkey flocks in the county were also affected, with eight of those being of a low pathogenic form and the ninth undetermined.
Low pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza was also confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in Jasper County, Missouri, in May.