Tricia Braid

Jun 05, 2015  |  Today's News

Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) animal health officials announced today that out-of-state birds will not be allowed to compete in Illinois exhibitions until further notice due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak affecting several states. This restriction includes county fairs, FFA and 4-H fairs, Illinois State Fair, and the DuQuoin State Fair. To date, avian influenza has not been detected in Illinois.  

 “The Department is taking a proactive approach to the threat of avian influenza.  This decision not only protects the poultry industry, but it also guarantees our state’s youth the opportunity to show livestock at our many county fairs and at both state fairs,” said Director Philip Nelson.

HPAI entered into the United States in mid-December 2014.  Incidents have occurred within the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways.  There have been cases in wild birds, captive wild birds, backyard poultry and commercial poultry.  Over 46 million birds have either died or have been euthanized due to the virus. 

Avian Influenza has impacted 20 states: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah.

The IDOA, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services (USDA-VS), serve as the official reporting agencies for HPAI in Illinois. 

Producers are required to report unexplained avian deaths and birds exhibiting clinical signs of disease so that an investigation can be conducted and a definitive diagnosis be achieved.  Anyone witnessing these occurrences must contact the State Veterinarian toll-free at 1-866-299-9256 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Birds affected with HPAI may exhibit:

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Respiratory distress (gasping)
  • Digestive abnormalities (extreme diarrhea)
  • Swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • Purple or blue discoloration around the head and legs
  • Decreased egg production or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Turkeys may have nervous systems including tremors, twisted necks, paralyzed wings and recumbent pedaling

According to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture, 3,725 poultry farms housing 4.3 million birds are located in Illinois.  Over 1,300 egg handlers are licensed by IDOA, including 300 backyard flocks registered and licensed to sell eggs off the farm.  For the most up to date information on HPAI, please visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture at: and

It is important to note that avian influenza has not been detected in Illinois. The Department has activated a dedicated phone number for county fairs, exhibitors, or members of the media to call at 1-866-299-9256.