WASHINGTON – The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture expanded surveillance of wild birds to include the Mississippi and Central Flyways after highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in wild birds in several states in the Atlantic Flyway.

The agency also will increase existing wild bird surveillance in the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways, which monitors birds that may interact with wild birds from Europe and Asia where HPAI outbreaks surged in 2021.

Increased surveillance of the Flyways will include the following:

  • Sample collection in targeted watersheds in the Central and Mississippi Flyways;
  • Opportunistic sampling of wild bird species obtained through agency removal programs, such as at airports or for crop damage management, airport removal and other agency captures;   
  • Coordination with State Department of Wildlife/Natural Resources during bird banding operations; and
  • Continued vigilance and investigation of wild bird morbidity and mortality events.

APHIS said the National Wildlife Disease Program is focused on collecting 16,500 samples in 25 states. Including surveillance in the Mississippi and Central Flyways will involve collecting an additional 14,500 wild bird samples for a total of more than 31,000 wild bird samples in 49 states.

All future wild bird HPAI findings will be posted to the APHIS website. The agency urged stakeholders to check the website on a routine basis, as no future stakeholder announcements are planned for wild bird findings.