US Bird Flu Preparations Continue as Wild Duck Infection Confirmed

US - The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has confirmed the presence of avian influenza in a wild duck, discovered as part of its preparation efforts for potential outbreaks.
calendar icon 7 December 2015
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The outbreak of avian flu in the US during spring and summer 2015 was the largest animal health emergency in the country’s history, and APHIS and its partners worked throughout the autumn to put plans in place to address the disease should it reappear.

The agency is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

As part of the wild bird surveillance effort, APHIS and its wildlife agency partners will be sampling more than 40,000 wild birds between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016 – with more than 24,000 samples already tested. Samples are being collected from both hunter-harvested birds and from wild bird mortalities.

As part of these surveillance efforts, APHIS confirmed that Eurasian H5 avian influenza was recently found in genetic material collected from a wild duck, but testing was unable to determine the exact strain of the viruses or whether they were high pathogenic or low pathogenic.

This recent finding of Eurasian H5 was in a wild, hunter-harvested mallard duck in Morrow County, Oregon in November. No avian flu has been identified in any commercial or backyard poultry since June 17, 2015.

On November 18, USDA reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that all cases of HPAI in commercial poultry have been resolved and that the US is again free of avian flu.

Producers and the industry are working to enhance their biosecurity on farms to help provide an even better protection against the virus should a reappearance of HPAI occur.

APHIS reminded anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial producer, to review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials.

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