ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The first case of the avian influenza virus has been detected in Pennsylvania.
It was discovered in a wild bald eagle found dead in East Marlborough Township, Chester County, the Game Commission announced Friday.
Diagnostics are pending on five wild hooded mergansers recovered from Kahle Lake on the border of Clarion and Venango counties. Four were found dead, and the fifth was exhibiting neurologic signs and was subsequently euthanized. Avian influenza is suspected, according to the Game Commission.
As of March, the avian influenza outbreak has impacted domestic or wild birds in more than 20 states across the eastern and midwestern United States.
Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring and ever-present in wild birds, so it is not feasible to prevent or control it in wild populations, the Game Commission said. Owners of domestic or wild birds held in captivity should always prevent contact between their birds and wild birds to prevent the spread of disease.
While avian influenza can potentially infect humans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the current outbreak is primarily an animal health issue that poses a low risk to the health of the general public, according to the Game Commission. No human cases have been detected or reported in the U.S.
The virus was first identified in North America in December 2021.