The USDA is investigating the cause behind the deaths of about a dozen chickens in Kauai, Hawaii, but preliminary testing showed that the avian influenza virus was not present in three of the chickens sampled.
The dead birds were discovered by a resident recently near the front of the Historic County Building in Kauai. Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife collected the dead birds and sent them to the USDA office in Oahu, according to a report in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Avian influenza had been one suspected cause of the mysterious deaths, although the virus has not been detected in Hawaii. Still, the federal agency has been on alert as avian influenza has been detected in 21 other states since December, 2014. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has reported 223 detections of avian influenza between December 19, 2014, and June 14, affecting more than 48 million birds. While the virus has not been confirmed in the United States since June, APHIS is anticipating avian influenza’s possible return as wild birds fly southward during their annual migration.
Further testing of the birds is being done to determine the cause of death. One other potential cause of the chicken deaths that is being investigated is botulism.