What Hunters Should Know about Avian Influenza
Quick Facts About Avian Influenza and Asian H5N1
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can humans catch avian influenza from wild birds?
A: There are no known cases of humans getting avian influenza from wild birds.
Q: How could Asian H5N1 enter North America?
A: The Asian H5N1 virus is most likely to enter through the movement of infected poultry, illegally imported birds or bird products, or migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.
Q: Should bird hunters be concerned about Asian H5N1?
A: Hunters should not be overly concerned at the present time, but hunters are encouraged stay informed and educated on this issue. Hunters should take some common sense hygiene precautions while hunting and cleaning harvested game birds.
Q: How can I protect myself from potential bird diseases while hunting?
A: The following suggestions are common sense precautions that hunters should follow when hunting:
- Do not handle birds that are obviously sick or birds found dead.
- Keep your game birds cool, clean, and dry.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning your birds.
- Use rubber gloves when cleaning game.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol wipes after dressing birds.
- Clean all tools and surfaces immediately afterward; use hot soapy water, then disinfect with a 10% chlorine bleach solution.
- Cook game meat thoroughly (165°F – well done) to kill disease organisms.
- Dispose of gloves and other wastes properly.
Q: Are hunting dogs at risk of getting Avian Influenza?
A: Dogs used in wild game bird hunting are not considered at risk of acquiring avian flu, since there have been no documented cases of the Asian H5N1 virus infecting dogs in North America. Nevertheless, prudent dog owners should prevent their dogs from having contact with game birds that are obviously sick or found dead in the field. Nor should hunters feed their dogs any raw meat from game birds. These are routine safety precautions that hunting dog owners should already be following. Owners of hunting dogs should keep well informed on this issue and should consult their veterinarian for more information about influenza in pets.
Q: What is being done to detect Avian
Influenza in wild birds?
A: Maryland DNR has been conducting surveillance for AI in wild birds since the summer of 2005 and will expand monitoring efforts in 2006. The Maryland DNR will focus its AI sampling on species that migrate from Alaska and Europe. This surveillance will assist in the national effort to provide early detection of the Asian H5N1 virus in wild bird populations.
Q: How can hunters help?
A: You can help MD DNR monitor the health of Maryland’s wild bird populations by reporting die-offs of large numbers of birds (5 or more) in your area to USDA / Wildlife Services 1-877-463-6497 – Toll-free (M-F 8-4:30) During hunting seasons, biologists may ask hunters for permission to collect samples from harvested waterfowl and other birds.
For More Information about Avian Influenza
www.nwhc.usgs.gov National Wildlife
www.mda.state.md.us Maryland Department of Agriculture
www.dnr.state.md.us Maryland Department of Natural Resources
www.dhmh.state.md.us Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
www.usda.gov United States Department of Agriculture
USDA / Wildlife Services – Toll-free (M-F 8-4:30)
Maryland DNR - Wildlife & Heritage Service (M-F 8-4:30)
410-260-8540 (or Toll-free in Maryland) 877-620-8367 x8540
Maryland DNR - Toll-free Emergency Call Center (24/7)
Other Links to Information About Avian Influenza
FWS Scientific Information on Avian Influenza
The official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza is http://pandemicflu.gov/
- Maryland Waterfowl
- Proposed 2014-2015 Late Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
- 2014 Early Resident Canada Goose Seasons & Bag Limits
- 2014 Webless Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Bag Limits
- Webless Migratory Game Birds
- Eastern Wild Turkey
- Quail & Pheasant
- Ruffed Grouse
- Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland
- Peregrine Falcon Permit for 2014
- 2014 September Teal Season
- Canada Goose Hunting Zones Map
- Hunting Seasons Calendar
- Public Dove Fields
- Disabled Hunter Access
- Hunter Education Classes
- Wildlife Management Areas
- Harvest Information Program (HIP)
- The Migratory Game Bird Regulation Process
- Stamps Needed to Hunt Migratory Game Birds
- Game Bird Diseases Alerts
- Archery Hunter Survey
- Maryland Game Program