Sunday, April 19, 2015

HPAI H5: 2nd Outbreak In Ontario, Changes In APHIS Reporting


HPAI H5 Detections In North America


# 9956

From Canada’s CFIA we get word this weekend that a second farm in Oxford County, Ontario has tested positive for HPAI H5 (sub-typing pending) – roughly 11 days after the first farm in the county seat Woodstock was reported infected (see CFIA: H5 Avian Flu Found On Ontario Turkey Farm).

These two southern Ontario detections represent the farthest eastward expansion of the H5 virus we’ve seen this year, although based on its rapid jump from the Pacific Northwest, there is little reason to believe it will stop their.

First the CFIA report, then I’ll return with some change to the way APHIS will now report outbreaks in the United States.


Avian influenza confirmed on second farm in Southern Ontario

OTTAWA, April 18, 2015

Preliminary testing by the Province of Ontario has confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza on a second farm in Oxford County, Ontario. The farm is a broiler breeder chicken farm.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has placed the farm under quarantine to control disease spread and the poultry industry has been notified to adopt enhanced biosecurity practices. Further testing by the CFIA is underway to confirm pathogenicity and to determine the precise subtype and strain of the virus. Pathogenicity refers to the severity of the illness caused in birds.

Avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. Public health authorities stand ready to take precautionary measures as warranted.

Initial tests for the disease were conducted on April 17, 2015 at the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph, after the chicken farm experienced sudden deaths of birds over several days.

All birds on the infected premises will be humanely destroyed and disposed of, in accordance with provincial environmental regulations and internationally accepted disease control guidelines. As lead response agency the CFIA will ensure the quarantine of the infected farm, and determine a surrounding surveillance zone for further testing and movement control measures. The CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the Province will provide technical support on required carcass disposal. Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.

The Province of Ontario, the CFIA, the owner of the infected birds, and the poultry industry are working closely together to manage the situation. Both levels of government will work with the poultry industry to address issues as they emerge. The Canadian poultry sector currently practices a high level of biosecurity that reduces the risk of disease spread.

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Meanwhile, in the United States these HPAI H5 virus continue to spread, hitting farms from California to Arkansas.  Hardest hit – with 26 turkey farms affected (as of 4/16) – has been Minnesota.  


Up until mid-week, the USDA’s APHIS (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) had been releasing a Stakeholder Announcement for each outbreak, some days resulting in 4 or 5 new statements being issued each day.


On Thursday I noted that an outbreak in Roberts County, SD had been added to the list, but no formal announcement had been posted.  The following day, an that outbreak was announced, with the following advisory indicating that because of the sheer volume, Stakeholder Announcements would be henceforth be published for detections in new states, a new flyway, or the discovery of a new strain.


Since the beginning of the HPAI H5 outbreaks, USDA has been committed to transparency in announcing these detections. Delivering factual, timely information is a priority for USDA.  Because more detections are expected during the Spring migration, USDA will streamline its announcements through daily GovDelivery messages as well as continue posting the new cases on the APHIS website.  And In the event of HPAI H5 detections in a new state and/or new flyway or detections of new strains, USDA APHIS will issue only a stakeholder announcement and post the findings on its AI website.


What we have now is a master list of cases, along with an interactive list that allows the viewer to drill down to any specific state’s information. 




In many ways this will be more convenient, although we may not be getting updates in quite as timely of fashion as under the older format. In some cases we may also see instances where states will have reported cases before they appear on the APHIS list.


The most recent update to the APHIS master list – current through 4/16/15 – puts the total number of commercial birds affected by these viruses at 2,670,890.

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