Testing poultry in Arkansas.
Ever since HPAI H5 viruses arrived in the Pacific Northwest last fall we’ve seen it continue to spread both south, and east, carried by wild and migratory birds. Six days ago the HPAI H5 virus was reported at a Minnesota turkey farm, and just two days ago it turned up at two Missouri poultry farms.
We’ve now a news report this evening suggesting that it may have been detected at a poultry farm in Arkansas.
As I wrote yesterday in Missouri Dept. Ag. Statement On Avian Flu At Missouri Turkey Farm, the arrival of HPAI to Missouri is particularly troubling as that state, and several adjacent states (most notably Arkansas), are among the biggest producers of poultry in the nation.
At this point, it is just a suspicion, and we’ll have to wait for test results. Details are scant, but here is the report from Reuters.
Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:29pm EDT (Updates with details on discovery, comments)
By Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter
(Reuters) - A suspected case of avian influenza has been identified in poultry in Arkansas, the third-largest U.S. turkey producer and home to Tyson Foods Inc , the nation's biggest chicken company, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
The infection, if confirmed, threatens to widen trading bans from countries such as Taiwan, Singapore and Nicaragua that have already restricted U.S. poultry exports due to bird flu outbreaks in states ranging from Minnesota and Missouri to California.
"There is a suspect case in Arkansas, but testing is ongoing," USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole said.
Meanwhile, earlier this afternoon the USDA posted the following confirmation of the second Missouri Farm’s infection with H5N2.
CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks
and commercial poultry, to be low
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2015 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in two separate commercial turkey flocks in Missouri. The flocks are located in Jasper County and Moniteau County, within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.
Samples from the turkey flocks, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Missouri Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. APHIS is working closely with the Missouri Department of Agriculture on a joint incident response.
State officials quarantined the affected premises and the remaining birds on the properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the involved flocks will not enter the food system. No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions.
As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses. As part of existing avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.
USDA will be informing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern.
These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
For more on the migratory expansion of these highly pathogenic H5 avian viruses, you may wish to revisit a blog I posted earlier today, called: