When Old MacDonald has his farm, the animals he raised were either born on his property or were sourced nearby. He raised them, butchered them, and likely sold them locally as well. Today, it isn't uncommon to ship livestock from specialized breeders to be raised or fattened on farms all across the nation. And when it comes time to slaughter these animals, the are often moved again.
As you might imagine, while considered more efficient, this opens the door to the spreading of animal diseases that once might have remained localized. This is a topic we've looked at previously with pigs (see You Say You Want An Evolution?).
Yesterday Arizona's Department of Agriculture placed four properties under quarantine that recently received birds and eggs from an Iowa facility that tested positive for HPAI H5 earlier this week. Local testing is underway, but it may be several days before we get the results.
This unnamed facility - according to this press release - has shipped product to nearly 75% of the states over the past few weeks, which means we might hear of similar steps being taken by other states in the coming days.
June 11, 2015
The Department of Agriculture is investigating the first potential cases of Avian Influenza in the state. Thirteen quail and chickens and about 40 quail and partridge eggs were imported from a facility in Iowa. A short time after the birds and eggs were shipped to Arizona, birds at the facility became sick and initial test results for those birds came back positive for H5 Avian Influenza on Monday.
The four properties where the birds and eggs were shipped are under quarantine. They are in Pinal, Mohave, Santa Cruz and Yavapai Counties. The birds will be tested, but the results could take up to 6 days depending on the workload at the laboratory.
“Bird enthusiasts and breeders who are shopping on the internet need to take care when ordering,” said Dr.Perry Durham, State Veterinarian. “These birds and eggs came from a state where Avian Influenza is rampant, responsible for the loss of millions of turkeys and hens. If you are importing birds or eggs into the state, check the list of states (attached) with Avian Influenza and do not bring birds or eggs from them to protect your flock and others.”
Anyone importing birds into Arizona from anywhere must have an original certificate of health for the birds and ensure they come from a non-controlled area. The facility in Iowa shipped birds and eggs to almost 75% of the country in the weeks before the initial testing.
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, quail, geese and many wild birds. Direct contact with infected birds, contaminated objects/equipment, and droplets in the air (short distances) can spread the virus. All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. The Department has resources on its website to help.
All bird owners can do their part to protect Arizona poultry by immediately reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the Arizona State Veterinarian’s Office at (602) 542-4293 or the USDA sick bird hotline at 1-866-536-7593.
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.
Although HPAI is a deadly disease of domestic poultry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk for infection of people to be low. To date, this strain has not caused any human illness. It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry products, including meat and eggs.
For questions about human health and Avian Influenza, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services web site.