A bald eagle that was found dead at Carvin’s Cove in December has tested positive for the Bird Flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. It’s the first known case in a bald eagle in Southwest Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
This comes after the eagle was sent to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center for examination after it was discovered at the cove on Dec. 8.
The center initially feared that the eagle had been shot or had high lead toxicity, but X-rays showed that there weren’t any signs of fractures or trauma. A necropsy also revealed that its organs appeared normal and there was no internal bruising or bleeding.
When the veterinarian and medical team were unable to determine the cause of death, they requested further testing from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR).
The eagle was then sent to the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and it was confirmed that it had Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
According to the CDC, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is a highly contagious H5N1 influenza virus that causes significant illness and death in domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
Below is a list of signs that a bird may be infected with HPAI:
- Lack of muscle control or coordination
- Head tilt
- Difficulty walking or flying
- Nasal or eye discharge
- Coughing or sneezing
- Sudden death
- Lack of appetite
- Purple discoloration
Source: WSLS News 10