Idaho Alpacas Test Positive for HPAI H5N1

Idaho Alpacas Test Positive for HPAI H5N1

Luca Fernandez
2 min read

Alpacas in Idaho Contract Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1, Marking a First for Camelids

In an unprecedented development, four alpacas in southern Idaho have tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1, a strain typically associated with birds. This surprising occurrence was confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture on May 16. The alpacas had been in close contact with infected poultry on the same farm, with no reported fatalities among them. This incident is significant as it exemplifies the spread of H5N1 to mammals, igniting concerns surrounding the virus's adaptability and its potential to infect humans. Currently, at least 66 dairy herds in nine states are affected by the virus, with ongoing monitoring by the USDA.

Key Takeaways

  • Four alpacas in Idaho tested positive for H5N1 bird flu, representing a first for camelids.
  • The infected alpacas were in close contact with HPAI-infected poultry on the same farm.
  • Despite being infected, no fatalities were reported among the alpacas.
  • The H5N1 virus strain found in alpacas is consistent with that found in US dairy cows and local birds.
  • Although there are over 264,000 alpacas in the US, the public threat from H5N1 remains constant.


The unexpected transmission of H5N1 to alpacas in Idaho underscores the virus's adaptability, impacting the alpaca industry and raising concerns about zoonotic implications. This development could lead to the implementation of stricter biosecurity measures in livestock management, thereby influencing operational costs. Moreover, if H5N1 further adapts to mammals, it may pose a heightened risk to human health, potentially influencing public health policies and vaccine development. The USDA's continuous surveillance signifies a comprehensive and coordinated response to mitigate prospective outbreaks, which might impact interstate agricultural regulations.

Did You Know?

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1: This strain primarily affects birds but can also infect mammals and humans, boasting a high mortality rate in birds and the potential to cause severe disease in humans if transmitted.
  • Camelids: A biological family encompassing animals such as llamas and alpacas, predominantly found in South America and known for their soft wool, utilized in textiles.
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA): A federal agency responsible for the development and execution of federal laws related to farming, agriculture, and food. In this context, the USDA is involved in monitoring and managing the spread of HPAI H5N1 among animals, assessing its potential impact on human health.

You May Also Like

This article is submitted by our user under the News Submission Rules and Guidelines. The cover photo is computer generated art for illustrative purposes only; not indicative of factual content. If you believe this article infringes upon copyright rights, please do not hesitate to report it by sending an email to us. Your vigilance and cooperation are invaluable in helping us maintain a respectful and legally compliant community.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest in enterprise business and tech with exclusive peeks at our new offerings