H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus, or bird flu, was discovered in blue-winged teal in southwest Louisiana.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory has confirmed H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, in hunter-harvested blue-winged teal in southwest Louisiana. Additionally, several captive birds have died from HPAI in northeast Louisiana. 

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.

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. If you hunt waterfowl and have backyard poultry, plan for added biosecurity measures (http://www.bah.state.mn.us/media/HPAI-Notice-Backyard-Final.pdf) to keep your flock healthy.

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


Some other protective measures include:


For more information, contact LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. James LaCour at jlacour@wlf.la.gov or LDWF Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Rusty Berry at rberry@wlf.la.gov.