RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is closely monitoring the current bird flu outbreak after its data showed three bald eagles have died among the thousands of birds it has identified.

USDA data showed that 15 states have recorded bald eagle deaths as a result of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Of those, three bald eagle deaths have been counted in North Carolina. Those deaths occurred in Beaufort, Davidson and Dare County.

Wild birds can be infected with HPAI and show no signs of illness, according to the USDA. They can carry the disease to new areas when migrating and potentially expose domestic poultry to the virus.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture

North Carolina has recorded 144 incidents of the avian flu among wild birds as of April 20.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture recently suspended all poultry shows and public sales. Any exhibitions, farm tours, shows, sales, flea markets, auction markets, swaps and meets pertaining to birds are included in this suspension.

“We do not make this decision lightly. HPAI is a serious threat to our poultry industry and this is a precaution to help limit the introduction of the virus to backyard and commercial flocks,” North Carolina Veterinarian Mike Martin said.

The state is advising poultry owners to keep flocks indoors without access to the outside and to report sick birds to area veterinarians, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division said.

The state department of agriculture also reported, since March 29, HPAI has been detected at seven commercial poultry facilities in Johnston and Wayne counties. It has forced the state to destroy more than 90,000 turkeys and more than 280,000 chickens to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Symptoms of HPAI bird owners should look out for are:

  • 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.