Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
In November 2014, a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, H5N2, was identified in commercial poultry, backyard hobby flocks, and wild birds in British Columbia, Canada and several western states including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Since that time, it has been identified in other states, including Minnesota.
The risk to the public is very low, and there is no food safety concern. When infected flocks are identified, the birds are quarantined and any remaining birds are depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.
Can humans be infected with HPAI?
No human cases of infection with this strain of the virus (H5N2) have been detected in the U.S. or other countries. However, some highly pathogenic avian flu viruses can infect people causing mild to severe respiratory illness. In most cases, people are infected after direct contact with birds that are sick with or died from highly pathogenic avian influenza. Symptoms in infected people can include influenza-like illness (e.g., fever, aches, respiratory symptoms) and red, itchy eyes.
Person-to-person transmission of avian influenza viruses is very rare.
HPAI does not pose a health risk to the public. Only persons who have direct contact with infected birds are potentially at risk. People in contact with infected birds are monitored by MDH for 10 days to make sure they don’t become sick. It is also recommended for them to take antiviral medication.
How is HPAI spread?
Avian influenza viruses are spread through direct contact with infected birds or through contact with contaminated bedding, feed or water.
What is MDH doing?
We work closely with animal health agencies, local public health, and the poultry industry to identify, protect, and monitor the health of poultry workers and others in direct contact with infected birds.
More about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, H5N2:
- Health Information for People Working with Avian Influenza Infected Flocks
Health information for people working with avian influenza infected flocks, available in three languages.
For more information on HPAI, go to the BAH website:
- Avian Influenza
- Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: Frequently Asked Questions
Attention: Non-MDH links