California poultry has been banned from Japan, Russia, Taiwan and Cuba, after birds in a layer flock of Japanese quail tested positive for a low pathogenic form of H5 avian influenza. An estimated 116,000 birds at the farm, which also houses Peking ducks, were susceptible to the virus.
The detection of avian influenza in California, which the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported on April 22, led Japan to issue a ban on California poultry products. Additionally, restrictions on California poultry are now in place in Russia, Taiwan and Cuba because the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has agreements with those countries to self-impose trade restrictions in such cases, according to a USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) spokesperson.
APHIS and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation. Officials learned of the situation after a commercial layer flock of Japanese quail in Stanislaus County was experiencing increased mortality in the adult laying population. Samples were then submitted for laboratory testing and the specimens were found compatible with low pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus.
The affected layer house contains about 56,000 adult quail. The farm also houses about 39,000 quail in a brooder house. There are nine additional buildings on the premises that house an estimated total of 21,000 Peking ducks for egg production.
The farm has been placed under quarantine, and depopulation of adult quail there has started.