Email signup

Bird flu reported in Virginia ducks, but no confirmed county cases

Virginia has recorded five confirmed cases of bird flu in 2022, including one in a mallard duck (via Vincent van Zalinge/Unsplash)

A highly contagious virus spread among birds has been detected in Virginia, but there is no evidence yet that it has reached Fairfax County.

There have been five confirmed cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Virginia this year, four in wild birds and one in a domestic flock in Fauquier County, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows.

The state’s first cases were reported on Jan. 26 in Henrico County, where two ducks — a green-winged teal and a mallard — were infected. The virus was subsequently confirmed in Virginia Beach in another teal on Feb. 1 and a gadwall duck on Feb. 16.

The Fauquier County case was confirmed on Feb. 12 and involved a backyard flock of 119 mixed-species, non-poultry birds.

So far, there have been no confirmed HPAI cases in wild or domestic birds in Fairfax County, according to Dr. Katherine Edwards, the Fairfax County Police Department’s wildlife management specialist.

As reported last week by The Washington Post, the D.C.-based nonprofit City Wildlife says symptoms of HPAI in birds include:

  • Sneezing, coughing, eye and nose discharge, swelling near the eyes
  • Abnormal position of the head or neck, incoordination, walking or swimming in circles
  • Swelling of the legs and feet, patchy red discoloration of the skin
  • Sudden death, or increased deaths within a flock

Edwards notes that wild birds — primarily migratory waterfowl and some shorebirds and seabirds — can become infected with avian influenza without becoming sick with the respiratory disease or showing symptoms.

While migrating, those birds carry the viruses to new areas and expose domestic poultry as well as other kinds of wild birds, such as raptors, turkey, quail and grouse.

“Given the recent detection in a backyard flock in Fauquier County and wild birds along the Atlantic Flyway, it is possible that the HPAI virus is present locally even though we have not received any reports in Fairfax County,” Edwards told FFXnow by email.

Bird flu infections in humans are rare but not impossible, with some individuals like poultry workers facing increased risk of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which does not consider the virus a public health threat.

The CDC says cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit will kill viruses and bacteria, including HPAI.

HPAI poses the highest risk to domestic poultry and backyard birds, including ducks, geese, chicken and turkeys.

It can spread quickly between flocks through both direct, bird-to-bird contact and indirect means, such as contact with contaminated surfaces, manure and even people’s clothes and hands, according to the USDA.

The department advises poultry owners to protect their flocks with biosecurity practices, including disinfecting clothes and equipment, limiting visitors, and preventing contact with wild birds and pests.

While wild migratory birds often don’t become sick, the overall risk to local wildlife varies based on the strain of HPAI. An avian flu outbreak in Israel late last year killed about 5,000 migratory cranes and prompted a mass culling of domestic chickens.

Mass deaths of lesser scaup ducks reported in Florida in February suggest the strain currently in circulation is more virulent in some species, according to state wildlife health officials with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

“It’s possible we may see more clinically affected wild birds compared to previous years when HPAI was detected in the western flyways,” Edwards said, noting that no large mortality events associated with HPAI have been reported in Virginia.

Notifying staff to be “extra vigilant” for sick or dead waterfowl, turkeys, and raptors, including hawks, eagles and owls, DWR has the following guidelines for individuals who encounter dead birds:

  • If you see a sick or dead raptor (excluding carcasses found on the road) or turkey, please notify DWR via the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 855-571-9003.
  • If you find five or more dead waterfowl in the same area within 1-2 days, please notify DWR via the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 855-571-9003.
  • If you find a dead songbird(s) or suspect that one of the species listed above died of trauma from hitting a stationary object (window, powerline) or moving vehicle (found on or near a road), or by predation (cat), do not call DWR and safely dispose of the bird using the guidelines below.
  • To dispose of a dead bird, pick up the bird with an inverted bag or disposable glove, place the bird in another bag, and dispose of it in the trash. Trash receptacles should be secured so that children, pets and wild animals do not have access to them.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 10172 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…

The Faraday Park neighborhood has officially welcomed another tenant: Eve’s Garden Lounge and Bar. The Asian fusion restaurant celebrated its soft opening on Friday, May 12 at 11207 Reston Station…

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A rock fight disrupted a warm Saturday afternoon for two Vienna households last week, though who exactly was throwing the rocks is a matter of some…

Discover the many unique neighborhoods in Fairfax County from family-friendly havens to thriving foodie spots.

Are you seeking a confidential space where you can explore your emotions, overcome challenges, and find inner peace? Look no further than our dedicated psychotherapy service! We understand that life can be overwhelming at times, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

At Peaceful Mind Solutions, our passion lies in helping individuals like you navigate life’s complexities and find the strength to thrive. Our skilled and compassionate therapist is committed to creating a warm, non-judgmental environment where you can express your thoughts and feelings openly. With our personalized approach, we tailor each session to address your unique needs and empower you to overcome obstacles.

Through evidence-based techniques and a deep understanding of the human mind, our therapist will guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or simply seeking personal growth, we’re here to provide guidance and practical tools for lasting change.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

VHC Health hosted its annual Trauma Survivors Day, honoring four former trauma patients and their care team on Tuesday, May 16. For many of these patient honorees, this event was the first time they were reunited with the team of healthcare professionals who cared for them after their injury. Both the healthcare team and the honorees expressed gratitude for the opportunity to thank, hug, and simply see one another again after their experience in the Trauma Center.


In May of 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia designated VHC Health as a Level II Trauma Center. This designation filled a critical community need; previously, the closest trauma center for Arlington County was in Fairfax or Washington, DC. Since becoming a Level II Trauma Center, VHC Health has provided care for nearly 2,000 trauma patients each year.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Charity Live Music Concert

Ukrainian Charity fundraiser concert at South County High School on June 13, 2023.

All proceeds will go toward Ukrainian funds “Mriya Charity” and “Dai Lapu Drug”, that help kids and animals affected by war.

The concert will include performances by

Active Bystander: TECC Training

For any incident, like the Las Vegas massacre to the Boston Marathon bombings, citizens play a role in saving lives in the minutes following an attack. It is imperative that we provide the knowledge and skills necessary to help our


Subscribe to our mailing list