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(WJW) — After bird flu was found in three ducks in the Carolinas earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture is reminding hunters, farmers and anyone else who works with birds to be vigilant.
Already in the last two months, multiple cases had been detected in Canada and Europe, but these new cases are reportedly the first seen in the wild in the United States in five years. And while Eurasian H5 avian influenza (the strain found) is not considered a high risk to humans, the illness can quickly affect bird populations, the USDA says.
This same strain of flu decimated part of the U.S. turkey industry in 2015, leaving more than 50 million birds dead in what the USDA has called the “most serious animal health disease incident” in the country’s history.
Infected birds may not show symptoms at first, but ones to look out for include difficulty breathing, purple discoloration on legs and a decrease in egg production, according to the USDA.
The agency says those handling birds should wear gloves and work in the open air in order to help contain spread. Anyone cooking eggs or poultry at home is advised to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees before eating.
Find out more about the bird flu in the USDA PDF below: