Photo © Chris Hull

Avian Flu (Bird Flu)


The term "Bird Flu" has sparked interest, concern and even panic in some parts of the world. The fact that the virus may be carried in migrant populations of wild birds means that it can be transported from one country, and even continent, to another.

On April 2, 2015, the first case of avian influenza was confirmed in South Dakota in a commercial turkey flock in Beadle County. GFP is working with both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. Currently, USDA surveillance efforts are underway to sample waterfowl in South Dakota.

Since December 2014, the federal government has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 13 states (including South Dakota) of the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways. Only H5N2 has been detected in South Dakota.


  • Poultry affected by avian influenza can show signs of decreased food consumption, respiratory problems, decreased egg production, greenish diarrhea, excessive thirst and swollen wattles and combs.
  • Wild birds may have symptoms including edema or swelling of the head, nasal discharge, decreased activity, ruffled feathers, diarrhea and tremors.


  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Prepare game in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant, clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.