BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) confirms bird flu found in blue-winged teal in the southwestern part of the state.

The agency said bird flu is low risk for public health according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), however, LDWF continues to routinely investigate reports of sick or dead birds. LDWF reports that several captive birds have died from bird flu in northeast Louisiana.

Bird flu has been found in wild birds and domestic poultry in 49 states — resulting in the death of over 3,000 wild birds and almost 48 million poultry, officials said.

LDWF shares the following safety guidelines for hunters handling wildlife:

  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable nitrile gloves while handling and cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that were exposed to game with hot soapy water and a 10% bleach solution.
  • Do not eat, drink or consume tobacco products while handling animals.
  • All game should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165° F.
  • Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.
  • Hunters should not feed organs, viscera or carcasses to retrievers or leave carcasses to be consumed by other wildlife.
  • As a general rule, observe wild birds from a distance, do not attempt to handle wild animals. Avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died.
  • People who work with poultry and wild birds should receive the annual influenza (flu) vaccine. This action reduces the potential for genetic changes in avian influenza, which may render the virus more apt to infect people, thus increasing the potential of pandemic influenza.