Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

No evidence of infection or exposure to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenzas in peridomestic wildlife on an affected poultry facility

September 7, 2016

We evaluated the potential transmission of avian influenza viruses (AIV) in wildlife species in three settings in association with an outbreak at a poultry facility: 1) small birds and small mammals on a poultry facility that was affected with highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV) in April 2015; 2) small birds and small mammals on a nearby poultry facility that was unaffected by HPAIV; and 3) small birds, small mammals, and waterfowl in a nearby natural area. We live-captured small birds and small mammals and collected samples from hunter-harvested waterfowl to test for active viral shedding and evidence of exposure (serum antibody) to AIV and the H5N2 HPAIV that affected the poultry facility. We detected no evidence of shedding or specific antibody to AIV in small mammals and small birds 5 mo after depopulation of the poultry. We detected viral shedding and exposure to AIV in waterfowl and estimated approximately 15% viral shedding and 60% antibody prevalence. In waterfowl, we did not detect shedding or exposure to the HPAIV that affected the poultry facility. We also conducted camera trapping around poultry carcass depopulation composting barns and found regular visitation by four species of medium-sized mammals. We provide preliminary data suggesting that peridomestic wildlife were not an important factor in the transmission of AIV during the poultry outbreak, nor did small birds and mammals in natural wetland settings show wide evidence of AIV shedding or exposure, despite the opportunity for exposure.