USDA and the Department of the Interior announced over the weekend that the presense of H5 and N1 avian influenza subtypes have been found in samples from wild mallard ducks in Pennsylvania. Testing has ruled out this being the highly pathogentic H5N1 strain spreading throughout Asia, Europe and Africa. Tests so far indicate this is the low pathogenic avian influenza, and poses no threat to human health.
The ducks were sampled Aug. 28 in Crawford County, Penn. The birds showed no signs of sickness, which also suggests a low-path strain. USDA and DOI are cooperatively sampling wild birds throughout the United States for the presence of the highly pathogenic strain of avian flu; and the extended testing program boosts the chances of finding more cases of low-path influenza-infected birds.
Confirmatory tests are underway at USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory, that will better clarify whether one or more strains of the virus are present, the specific subtype and confirm the pathogenicity. Results are expected within two to three weeks.