USDA and Department of the Interior officials Saturday announced the detection of H5 and N1 subtypes of avian influenza in samples taken from birds in northern Ohio. Initial tests indicate that the samples contain a low pathogenic strain, not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has spread through birds in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The samples were collected in Ottawa County as part of an Ohio Division of Wildlife and USDA bird monitoring program, from apparently healthy wild Northern pintails that were killed by a hunter.
The USDA and Department of the Interior are working with states to sample wild birds throughout the U.S. for the presence of highly pathogenic avian flu. In the process of this testing program, officials sometimes detect low pathogenic strains of avian flu, which they say is no cause for concern.
Low pathogenic avian influenza poses no direct threat to human health and occurs commonly in wild birds, typically causing only minor sickness.
Additional testing will clarify the specific subtype of the avian influenza found in these samples, determine whether one or more strains of the virus are present, and confirm that the samples contain a low pathogenic virus. The results will be made public when completed, in an estimated two to three weeks.