Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Avian Influenza FAQ

Select a question below to expand the answer.

Does highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) currently exist in the United States?

There have been several cases of avian influenza detected in the United States in 2017. This includes both highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's avian influenza webpage.

Have there been any recent detections of HPAI in Florida, which is located in the Atlantic and Central flyways?

No, to date, there have been no HPAI detections in Florida or adjoining states.

Can people catch these HPAI virus strains?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from this HPAI virus in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with these viruses have been detected.

What is the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) doing to prepare for the possibility of HPAI in Florida?

  • FDACS has a robust surveillance system and strong partnerships with private sector entities and federal, state and local agencies.
  • FDACS and partners are monitoring Florida’s domestic fowl by testing birds for diseases including HPAI at exhibitions, backyard flocks, commercial poultry flocks, and live bird markets. When there are suspect cases, each bird is tested at FDACS’s accredited laboratory, the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Florida has had no detections of this virus to date.
  • FDACS is working with the U.S. Interagency Early Detection Working Group formed to develop a national strategic plan for coordinated surveillance and early detection. Partners include: the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the University of Florida, the National Wildlife Health Center, the Atlantic Flyway Council, and more.
  • FDACS is also collaborating with the poultry industry on plans to prepare for and prevent HPAI through multiple meetings and workshops.
  • Information has been provided to feed stores throughout the state in order to educate those with backyard flocks.

What are the usual signs of avian influenza in domestic fowl?

Any bird — wild, commercial or backyard — that is exhibiting signs of sickness should be reported for testing, as testing is the only way to determine whether the bird has been infected with HPAI.

What should you do if you suspect avian influenza (AI)?

  • Report any suspected cases of AI in domestic poultry to FDACS by calling (850) 410-0900 (during office hours) or 1-800-342-5869 (after hours) or by emailing  RAD@FreshFromFlorida.com.
  • Report sightings of dead wild birds on the FWC website
  • Do not handle sick or dead birds yourself.
  • Hunters, wildlife rehabilitators, biologists and others working with or handling wild birds should follow the guidelines outlined by the National Wildlife Health Center.

Is it safe to eat poultry or poultry products?

  • CDC indicates there is no evidence that human cases of HPAI have ever been acquired by eating properly cooked poultry products.
  • The CDC also states that it is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry. (For guidance on handling and cooking poultry and game birds, please visit the  USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website.)
  • More information regarding human health and AI can be found on the CDC website and on the Florida Department of Health website.