WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock (poultry) in Obion County, Tennessee.
Samples from the herd were tested at the Kord Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
APHIS is working closely with Tennessee state animal health agencies in a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property are being depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock do not enter the food system.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health risk associated with these avian influenza infections in birds remains low. As a reminder, as a general food safety precaution, proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F is recommended.
As part of existing plans to combat avian influenza, federal and state partners are working together to provide additional surveillance and testing in areas around affected populations. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and the USDA is working with its partners to actively screen for the disease on commercial poultry farms, in live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.
Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial grower should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. APHIS has biosecurity materials, including videos, checklists and a toolkit, available at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program /dtf-resources/dtf-resources.
The USDA will report these findings to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and international trading partners. The USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to promote compliance with WOAH standards and minimize trade impact. The WOAH trade guidelines require countries to base trade restrictions on sound scientific evidence and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading diseases of concern. The WOAH Trade Guidelines also require member countries not to impose international trade in poultry products in response to non-poultry product notifications.
APHIS will continue to report the first case of HPAI in commercial and backyard herds detected in a state, but will not report additional discoveries in the state. All commercial and backyard herd cases are listed on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/avian-influenza/2022-hpai.
In addition to 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, either through their state veterinarian or by calling APHIS toll-free at 1-866 -536- 7593. APHIS urges producers to bring birds indoors whenever possible to prevent further exposure. The Animal Health Protection Act authorizes APHIS to compensate producers for birds and eggs that have to be depopulated during a disease control effort. APHIS also offers compensation for disposal activities and virus removal activities. For more information on biosecurity for backyard flocks, visit http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free-flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and others transmit shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1–H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1– N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be further broken down into different strains that circulate within flight routes/geographical regions. AI viruses are further classified according to their pathogenicity (low or high) – the ability of a particular virus strain to cause disease in domestic poultry.
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