Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and OUR Parrots
By Donna Barbaro February 28, 2022
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or HPAI has not been detected in a wild bird in the United States since 2016. On February 19, 2022, HPAI was detected on Long Island in Suffolk County within a small flock of backyard poultry. That flock was allowed to mingle with wild waterfowl.
All birds are susceptible to avian influenza. All parrot owners should be on alert. HPAI is a HIGH Risk virus with 100% mortality for all birds, and a low risk of transmission to humans.
ABOUT Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
Avian influenza seasonally occurs in the US from December to June because the virus survives for long periods in cool humid weather, within bodies of water, and on many surfaces. HPAI is easily transmissible and deadly. It kills within 24 – 48 hours via internal hemorrhaging. There is no cure and no vaccine to prevent it.
HPAI outbreaks are driven in large part, by migratory waterfowl. Infected birds can shed avian influenza viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. It can occur in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. HPAI is a potent enveloped-virus (like SARS-COVID-19) that spreads quickly by direct bird-to-bird contact or when birds come in contact contaminated water or surfaces.
Since January 13, 2022, HPAI has been reported in wild and domestic birds in 18 states including Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, and New York. As spring migration continues and birds return to their breeding grounds, it will most likely occur in more flocks along the Atlantic Flyway as well as move westward into the Mississippi and Central Flyways. Consolidated map of all reports (layered map of Google Maps)
Disinfectants & Cleansers
There are many disinfectants and cleansers approved by the EPA to inactivate (kill) avian influenza (EPA List M). Some are cheap and easily accessible products that include soap, bleach, Lysol, Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. Many are or can be diluted to be used in spray bottles or footbaths. Read labels for dilution rates and contact times. Most are NOT SAFE to use around your parrots, but they are excellent disinfectants. If you have questions, call the manufacturer, and ask!
3/4 cup household bleach to 1 gallon of water
(1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
Not safe around birds.
Make new solution every 24 hrs.
Can be used as a foot dip.
Disinfectants safe to use around parrots.
Mix at 1:10 (50ml t0 1 pint of water)
Yes, light fragrance
keep bird away until solutions dries.
No wipe/rinse required.
Mix good for 6 months.
1:500 (2 ml / l water)
SC – Disinfectant, SCXD Disinfectant cleaner
No wipe/rinse required (for either).
Mix good for 6 months.
How Can I Protect My Pet BIRDS?
We can inadvertently pick the virus up on our clothing, shoes, or hands and while Long Island has historically been spared from this disease, we do receive a good share of birds during migration. And, if there is anything COVID has taught us, it is BE PREPARED.
HPAI can be anywhere, so it’s important to avoid moving or spreading on your clothes, shoes, cars, or equipment. Parrot owners should keep their birds indoors during a nearby avian influenza outbreak as well as taking steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus carried by visitors, other birds, and potentially contaminated things like cages, toys, or food and water.
Stay informed and be vigilant.
The current outbreak of HPAI will not last forever, but it may come back seasonally. The best thing you can do now to protect your flock is keep them indoors and prevent bringing the virus into your home. Change shoes or clothes and disinfect them before entering your home. Educate yourself about implementing a bio security plan and the ways you can stay safe by visiting The Defend the Flock Program.