Highly pathogenic avian flu detected on Texas coast, says Texas Parks & Wildlife

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department says highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected on the Texas coast.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the presence in domesticated swans in Nueces County. HPAI is circulating among Texas wild birds as fall migration begins for waterbirds and waterfowl, says TPWD.

Detected in all U.S. states except Hawaii, HPAI is a highly contagious virus that transmits easily among wild and domestic birds. The virus can spread directly between animals and indirectly through environmental contamination.

What are the signs and symptoms of HPAI in birds?

The Texas Animal Health Commission says signs of infection may differ based on the strain of the virus. Birds infected with low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) may show few to no warning signs.

Some signs and symptoms include:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs 
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Incoordination
  • Diarrhea 
  • Those who locate wild animals with signs consistent with HPAI should contact their local TPWD wildlife biologist.
  • What are the signs and symptoms of HPAI in humans?
  • According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, some of the reported symptoms of avian flu in humans can range from flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications.
  • While the transmission risk of avian influenza from infected birds to people remains low, the public is advised to limit all unnecessary contact with wild birds. If contact cannot be avoided, the public should take basic protective measures.