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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.

Laboratory-confirmed infection with influenza in humans is reportable to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE). Samples tested at the Alaska State Virology Laboratory in Fairbanks are routinely subtyped to determine the strain of influenza virus present. Please contact SOE if you have any questions at 907-269-8000.

In Alaska, routine surveillance of wild and domestic birds for avian influenza has occurred for many years with the occasional detection of Low Pathogenic viruses in some wild waterfowl. In 2016, as part of routine surveillance, a wild mallard was found to have Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N2). On April 30, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of HPAI A(H5N1) in a non-commercial, backyard flock of chickens and ducks in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Since 2002, detections of HPAI A(H5N1) have occurred in birds and other animals in Alaska.

In 2024, HPAI A(H5N1) was detected in dairy cattle in several states. Additionally, on April 1, 2024, CDC reported a human case of HPAI A(H5N1) associated with exposure to dairy cattle.

No human infections due to avian influenza have been reported in Alaska.

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