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DEC investigating possible bird flu outbreak at Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca

The DEC is investigating a possible outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus, commonly known as Bird Flu, at Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca. The outbreak is said to be affecting the pheasant population at the game farm.


DEC initiated the investigation after suspicious deaths were reported at the Game Farm on Monday. Initial test results indicate a potential outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza (AI) virus. The department is collaborating with animal health experts at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory to determine the next steps at the farm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recent HPAI detections in birds do not pose an immediate public health threat. HPAI cases in humans are rare, and symptoms are typically mild. The risk of a person becoming infected is low.

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HPAI is a strain of the influenza virus that primarily affects birds, including commercial and backyard poultry flocks. Since early 2022, HPAI has been circulating in wild birds in North America and has previously been confirmed in wild birds in Tompkins County, where Reynolds Game Farm is located.

The Game Farm is known for its strict biosecurity protocols, including fencing and overhead netting to prevent large birds such as hawks, owls, ducks, geese, and gulls from getting into the pens. Staff also regularly conduct disease surveillance. The pheasant flock at Reynolds is a USDA National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) certified flock, which includes surveillance for AI, pullorum disease, fowl typhoid, and other infectious diseases.

DEC is working with partners at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to respond quickly and effectively to the suspected outbreak.



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