The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a game farm in Ithaca.

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The Cornell Wildlife Health Lab conducted testing and confirmed positive results which now places the Reynolds Game Farm under quarantine for 120 days.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, 500 of the 6,600 pheasants at the Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca have died as a result of the avian bird flu. Protocols related to the outbreak dictate that the remaining birds must be killed to prevent the disease from further spreading.

Reynolds Game Farm is the only pheasant production facility in New York and is owned and operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Wildlife. The game farm is also managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and the New York Agriculture and Markets.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, the wild population of pheasants has reached an all-time low. Pheasants are bred at the Reynolds Game Farm and then distributed through DEC programs which are then released on land that is open to the public for pheasant hunting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bird flu does not normally infect humans however, some infections in humans have occurred.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that symptoms of bird flu in humans include “fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches to nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, eye infections, difficulty breathing, pneumonia and severe respiratory diseases.

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