Several captive birds in northeast Louisiana have died from H5NI Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced. The disease also was discovered and confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in October in hunter-harvested blue-winged teal in southwest Louisiana.

Birds from Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland parishes have tested positive.

HPAI has been detected in wild birds, domestic poultry, or both in 49 states and resulted in the death of over 3,000 wild birds and nearly 48 million domestic birds (poultry). Waterfowl can become sick and die from the disease, however, many birds are carriers that do not show clinical signs. LDWF routinely investigates reports of sick or dead bird events if large numbers are impacted. Waterfowl species and pelicans are among the birds that the disease is affecting.

The Center for Disease Control considers H5N1 HPAI a low risk for public health. While the virus presents a low risk to humans, it is important to avoid contact with sick birds. Also, be mindful that hunting equipment may transport the virus. 

Some general safety guidelines for hunters and others handling wildlife and their tissues include:


Some other protective measures include:


LDWF is continuing to monitor for HPAI throughout the state.

Other sources of information concerning HPAI can be found at the following links:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Avian Influenza:

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS):

USGS National Wildlife Health Center:


For more information, contact LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. James LaCour at or LDWF Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Rusty Berry at