Late yesterday Kentucky became the third U.S. state to report detecting the recently emerged North American H7N9 virus, which first appeared two weeks ago in Tennessee (see USDA Identifies Tennessee Bird Flu Virus as HPAI H7N9).
This virus is described as a newly reassorted North American H7N9 subtype - which is not of the same lineage, and genetically distinct from, China's H7N9 virus.
We are still awaiting results from Alabama on two outstanding tests, but they have confirmed one LPAI infection, while Tennessee has confirmed two HPAI, and one LPAI outbreak.
The LPAI outbreak in Kentucky was discovered in a commercial poultry flock in the western part of the state. The farm is under quarantine, and 22,000 birds have been destroyed.
LPAI viruses are commonly found in wild and migratory birds, and often only produce mild symptoms in poultry. The concern is - when LPAI H5 and H7 viruses are not quickly controlled - they have the potential to mutate into highly pathogenic strains.
The detection of H7N9 in three states suggests this new North American reassortant is likely moving north with migratory birds, and that all poultry interests - but particularly those in the Mississippi Flyway - should take stock of their biosecurity, and make any needed adjustments.
This from Kentucky's Department of Agriculture.
Christian County flock depopulated; surveillance continuesFor Immediate Release
Monday, March 20, 2017
For more information contact:
(502) 573-0450FRANKFORT, Ky. — Federal and state authorities say a case of low pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a commercial poultry flock in western Kentucky.
Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the presence of H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza in samples taken from the Christian County premises.
The virus exposure at the premises was initially detected by the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville while conducting a routine pre-slaughter test last week. Dr. Stout said there were no clinical signs of disease in the birds. The affected premises is under quarantine, and the flock of approximately 22,000 hens was depopulated as a precautionary measure, Dr. Stout said.
“Dr. Stout and his staff have extensive experience and expertise in animal disease control and eradication,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “They have an excellent working relationship with the Kentucky Poultry Federation and the poultry industry. They are uniquely qualified to contain this outbreak so our domestic customers and international trading partners can remain confident in Kentucky poultry.”
Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may cause no disease or mild illness. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) can cause severe disease with high mortality.
The OSV and its partners in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) are conducting surveillance on flocks within a six-mile radius of the index farm, Dr. Stout said. The company that operates the farm is conducting additional surveillance testing on other commercial facilities it operates within that area.
The Office of the State Veterinarian, an agency of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, works with USDA APHIS, other government agencies, the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center, private veterinary practitioners, and producers to prevent and eradicate disease in Kentucky livestock and poultry.
Dr. Stout encouraged poultry producers and all other bird owners to take biosecurity measures to prevent their birds from being infected with avian influenza or other bird diseases:
- Keep your distance – Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
- Keep it clean – Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
- Don’t haul disease home – Clean vehicles and cages.
- Don’t borrow from your neighbor – Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
- Know the signs – Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease.
- Report sick birds – Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths to the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian at (502) 573-0282, option 3, or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says that avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. APHIS issued a reminder that the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.
Poultry and eggs generated an estimated $1.2 billion in cash receipts to Kentucky farmers in 2015, the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. Kentucky farmers produced 307.7 million broilers and nearly 1.3 billion eggs in 2015.
Kentucky entry requirements are listed on the OSV website at kyagr.com/statevet. For more biosecurity tips and other information about avian influenza, go to healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. For more information about the Christian County investigation, contact Dr. Stout at (502) 782-5921.