Post Content

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

Morning Notes

Fare-Free Connector to Metrorail Transfers Start Tomorrow — “To continue to improve transit service in Fairfax County, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved service and fare changes on…

(Updated, 3:20 p.m.) Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay believes the county will be on “safe legal ground” if it chooses to not follow Virginia’s recently-proposed model policies…

The Montessori School of McLean could soon have the property at 1711 Kirby Road all to itself. The private elementary school has occupied the nearly 4-acre parcel since the early…

The redevelopment of downtown Herndon by Reston-based developer Comstock has been officially been put on pause. But Fairfax County’s commitment to provide $6.2 million remains unchanged, according to the county….

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Ending your marriage and living in the shadows of its pain is one thing, but when children (2 and 4 legged ones) are involved it’s not only about you. Divorce Mediation is the way to resolve the past and establish a solid, cooperative foundation to reorganize the relationship with your former partner. Everyone involved will benefit and you will gain peace-of-mind. Divorce Mediation is the cost effective way to negotiate your divorce and sign a Separation Agreement that is equitable and fair. 

Walid Jawad will facilitate the divorce process in a calm and thoughtful manner to help you establish the foundation for your next phase in life.  Walid’s 5-Star google reviews is a testament to his dedication to limiting divorcing couples’ stress during this intense transitional period.

Mediate your divorce virtually from the convenience of your kitchen table for $1,200 and save yourself the average Virginia cost of $15,000 per divorce and $22,000 with children. Make a complimentary appointment with Walid at Aether Mediation here:

Submit your own Community Post here.

Reston Home Tour

Reston Museum’s 20th Reston Home Tour features homes include an award-winning modern masterpiece tucked back in a wooded oasis, a beautifully-landscaped personal “club house” offering amazing views of the golf course, a newly-renovated Reston Town Center townhouse with a water

Ravel Dance Company presents the Nutcracker Ballet

The Ravel Dance Company will present this holiday tradition for the 2nd year at the gorgeous Capital One Hall main stage. It is a wonderful way to start the holiday season. Follow Clara through her journey to the Pine forest,


Subscribe to our mailing list