Avian Influenza

Updated August 16, 2006

What is the status of bird flu in the U.S.?
Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza subtype Asian H5N1 does not yet exist in the U. S.

In March 2006, the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior and Homeland Security held a national media briefing; they said that avian flu inevitably will arrive in the U.S., but they cannot predict when it will happen.

Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza subtype Asian H5N1 is extremely contagious among birds. It is not contagious among humans at this time.

Like other states, New Hampshire is preparing for a possible outbreak of avian flu. The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating our preparedness efforts. To find out more about what's being done in N.H., click here to visit www.avianflu.nh.gov. <return to top>

How will we know if bird flu is here?
Many agencies and organizations at all levels of government are currently working to learn more about avian flu, how it travels, and how it affects both birds and people. We are developing early detection systems and strategies for responding when the disease arrives. N.H. Fish and Game is actively involved in these efforts.

  • A national monitoring plan is in place, calling for all 50 states to have early detection systems so we know when and where avian flu comes to the U.S.

  • New Hampshire Fish and Game is working in partnership with USDA Wildlife Services on monitoring for bird flu in New Hampshire; the Department expects to collect 1,100 samples for analysis in 2006.

  • Monitoring began in New Hampshire in May 2006 with the testing of birds statewide throughout the season. <return to top>

How can I find out more about bird flu?

Click here to reach a national information clearinghouse on Avian Influenza.

Click here for a N.H. fact sheet with Frequently Asked Questions about avian flu from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services (07/12/06), PDF 132 KB.

Any special advice for waterfowl and other hunters?
There are no known cases of Avian Influenza H5N1 being transmitted from a wild bird to a human. Just the same, waterfowl hunters should take the usual health precautions when handling and preparing wild game. All hunters are advised to follow these general guidelines for proper handling of wild birds:

  • Hunters should always wash their hands after handling wild game birds;
  • Clean and sanitize knives, other cleaning tools and food preparation surfaces;
  • Cook wild birds to an internal temperature of at least 165°F;
  • Observe wildlife, including wild birds, from a distance;
  • Do not pick up diseased or dead wildlife.

For additional bird flu-related information for hunters , click here for a fact sheet from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, www.pandemicflu.gov/health/hunters.html.

More information on avian flu will be posted on this page as it becomes available.

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