Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)
In January 2022, as our Raptor Hospital was heading into our busiest time of year, we were faced with a nationwide outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The deadly strain was discovered right here in North Carolina, affecting 53 wild birds. In the US, these were the first confirmed cases in wild birds since 2016. Past avian influenza strains have mostly impacted domestic poultry. This strain, however, is highly infectious to wild birds and primarily affects raptors, scavengers, waterfowl, and poultry.
Our team of experts quickly jumped into action to identify risks and protect our birds and organization. Our biggest concern is that the symptoms of HPAI, are the same symptoms that occur in the majority of our wild rehab patients: weakness, ataxia, and an array of neurologic symptoms. We created an extensive HPAI Protocol using concepts from human medicine, veterinary medicine, and the farming industry. Applying these complex concepts to our unique operations has allowed us to continue our mission while keeping our staff, birds, and community safe. As the first region in the US affected by HPAI, we became a valuable resource for similar avian facilities throughout the country.
Since January 2022, we have successfully prevented the spread of HPAI throughout our facility.
For the latest information visit the USDA APHIS website.