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North Carolina prepares for HPAI
North Carolina achieves HPAI-free status
All N.C. poultry farms should be following
STRICT biosecurity protocols
What is avian influenza? Consumers & Food Safety Biosecurity FAQs Small & Backyard Flocks Wild birds and hunting Bird shows/sales Commercial Poultry


Latest news and updates - updated May 17, 2023

What is avian influenza?

Avian influenza (AI), also known as bird flu or fowl plague, is a disease caused by avian influenza A virus. Avian influenza is divided into two categories based on how severe the illness. These two categories are low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

While some types of avian influenza cause only mild illness in birds, the virus can mutate into a more dangerous version that could be potentially fatal. It is because of the virus’ ability to mutate quickly that any type of avian influenza is reportable to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Avian influenza can be spread in many ways including through air contaminated with virus (from coughing, sneezing, etc.) and feces. The virus can also be carried to and from flocks on clothing, boots, and equipment. Click here for more information about Avian Influenza.

NCDA&CS has worked with the poultry industry, other state agencies, and federal agencies to prepare for and respond the threat of influenza in poultry. The state’s plan includes education, monitoring, reporting, and response. Testing for influenza is conducted through our NC Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System.

What about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)?

HPAI is a deadly disease that spreads very quickly and can affect many avian/poultry species including chickens and turkeys. With this threat, the faster we can respond the faster we can stop the virus from spreading. It is critical to keep strict biosecurity measures and watch your flock closely for any signs of the disease. Problems in your flocks should be reported quickly and is vital in protecting the poultry in our state and nation from this deadly disease

Know the Warning Signs

  • Reduced energy, decreased appetite, and/or decreased activity
  • Lower egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, and wattles
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
  • Difficulty breathing, runny nares (nose), and/or sneezing
  • Twisting of the head and neck, stumbling, falling down, tremors, and/or circling
  • Greenish diarrhea
Report It!

If your birds are sick or dying, report it right away. This is one of the most important things you can do to keep HPAI from spreading.

  • Your flock or local veterinarian
  • NC State Veterinary Office           919-707-3250
  • Your local branch of the NC Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System
    • Raleigh                             919-733-3986        
    • Elkin                                 336-526-2499
    • Monroe                             704-289-6448
    • Arden/Fletcher                  828-684-8188
  • USDA                                         866-536-7593

After you report, a Federal or State animal health official will contact you to learn more about your flock and operation.

Additional Diagnostic Resources




Additional resources


Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Plan


Avian Influenza

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan: The Red Book


USDA APHIS HPAI Response Guide


          Avian Influenza

          Avian Influenza Current Situation Summary

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality

Avian Influenza - HPAI

Hyperlink to Sick Bird Information/NC Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System section



Office of the State Veterinarian
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Mailing Address:1030 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1030
Physical Address: 2 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919-707-3250; FAX: 919-733-2277

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