The nation’s first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in two years has been reported. This particular case is in Dubois County, Indiana, in a commercial meat turkey flock.
“We’re working hand in hand with the Indiana Board of Animal Health,” said Koren Custer of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “We’ve got a very set pattern of actions and steps that we take when we have these sorts of detections, such as quarantine of the affected premises and depopulation of the impacted flock.”
This is the same strain of avian influenza that was recently found in wild birds in the Atlantic Flyway. That is an added reason, according to USDA Chief Veterinarian Rosemary Sifford, for poultry growers, regardless of the size of their flocks or operation, to enhance biosecurity measures at their facilities.
“Which includes limiting access to wild birds, making sure that contact is limited as much as possible, no unnecessary visitors, or making sure that visitors to your facility have clean footwear and clean clothing that they haven’t worn around other birds,” Sifford said. “Keep a close eye on any evidence of signs of disease in the birds, including birds that just don’t feel like eating or drinking like they usually do. Those signs might be telling you that they’re in the very early stages of a disease that needs to be addressed.”
As for the case in Indiana, officials are now monitoring the region and have set up a surveillance zone around those areas. Testing continues at prescribed intervals in the commercial premises in those areas and local backyard flocks will be watched as well. Then, before the birds are put back in the affected facility, the farm will be tested to make sure that it is virus free.
USDA stresses that high path avian influenza is not an immediate public health concern and urges all poultry producers to practice and reinforce biosecurity measures on their property.