The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) was informed today by the state's Department of Agriculture that a small, solitary flock of chickens in southern Kent County is infected with avian influenza. Because of the widely publicized avian influenza outbreak in Asia and the transmission of that strain (H5N1) from poultry to humans, health care providers in Delaware may be questioned by their patients. DPH wishes to advise health care providers of the following information.
The strain infecting poultry in Delaware has been confirmed as H7, different than the strain circulating in Asia.
Avian influenza viruses do not normally infect species other than birds and pigs. Human disease resulting from outbreaks of H7 in poultry is very rare, and when it has occurred, was the result of close contact with infected birds.
Human-to-human transmission of H7 influenza has not been conclusively demonstrated.
Therefore, DPH stresses that, except for poultry workers directly involved with the infected flock, the likelihood of transmission to humans is remote.
DPH continues to monitor the occurrence of influenza in Delaware and identify species of influenza virus from specimens submitted to the DPH Laboratory.
For information about this health advisory, call 1-888-295-5156. This number is answered during normal business hours and, for emergencies during non-business hours.