The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus affecting the Reynolds Game Farm pheasant population.
DEC began investigating suspicious deaths at the Game Farm, located near Ithaca in Tompkins County, on March 20 and initial test results indicated a possible outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza (AI) virus. On March 21, the farm was put under quarantine following positive test results from the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab. A full 120-day quarantine period for the farm is required. This week, at least 500 of DEC's breeder flock of 6,600 pheasants died from HPAI.
DEC is working closely with animal health experts at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory and following standard protocol for an outbreak of HPAI.
Cooperatively managed by DEC, AGM and USDA, the remaining breeder flock of pheasants on the property is being depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease in accordance with standard HPAI response protocols. Birds from the flocks will not enter the food system. As part of existing avian influenza response plans, AGM and USDA are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flock. Additional information on the USDA response plan can be found at USDA APHIS | Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. HPAI cases in humans are rare, and symptoms are typically mild. The risk of a person becoming infected is low.
DEC will continue to work with partners at AGM and USDA in a swift and thorough response to the outbreak.
More information on HPAI may be found at:
Avian influenza | Cornell Wildlife Health Lab
USDA Avian Influenza Updates 2022
USGS HPAI Distribution 2021/2022
You can also find more information at New York Extension Disaster Education Network (NY-EDEN).
If you think your flock has been exposed to HPAI, contact:
Sr. Agriculture Economic Specialist
email@example.com, office: 315-539-9251 ext. 109
Environmental/Natural Resources Educator
firstname.lastname@example.org, office: 315-539-9251 ext. 110, cell: 585-694-0305
Where do I report sick birds?
For more information on keeping your flock safe and for general tips on implementing biosecurity measures for small and backyard flocks, visit the USDA-APHIS Defend the Flock web page: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program/dtf-resources
More information about HPAI can be found at:
Raptors and HPAI:
More information about how raptors are affected by this virus was shared by the University of Minnesota on 2/28/22. The link to the webinar recording can be found at: https://mediaspace.umn.edu/media/t/1_n0drrg4i
NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Program):
There are many hatcheries that participate in this program, which tests against poultry diseases, including Avian Influenza. Participating hatcheries also have biosecurity measures in place to help mitigate the risk of disease on their farms, which means a lower risk to you if you’re buying chicks in. If you aren’t sure if the hatchery you source from is NPIP certified, you can use this NPIP Participants States page to search for them (the map is clickable): http://www.poultryimprovement.org/statesContent.cfm
The New York specific hatchery page can be found here:
Last updated March 24, 2023