Avian influenza continues to be top of mind for the poultry industry, both in North America and globally. Here are seven new developments concerning the virus:
1. H5N8 avian influenza resurfaces – Nearly every case of avian influenza confirmed in the United States by the USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been of the H5N2 serotype. However, the federal agency on May 10 confirmed the presence of H5N8 avian influenza in a backyard mixed poultry flock in Indiana. Prior to that, the most recent case of H5N8 avian influenza was confirmed on February 12 in a flock of chickens in Kings County, California.
2. 40 percent of US states have confirmed avian influenza cases – During the past week, two new states have had confirmed cases of avian influenza, with APHIS reporting one case in Indiana on May 10 and one case in Nebraska on May 11. The total number of states with confirmed avian influenza now stands at 20.
3. University of Georgia hires avian influenza researcher – Georgia, the nation’s leading broiler producing state, has not yet had any confirmed cases of avian influenza, but the University of Georgia is still committed to the fight against the deadly virus. Dr. Daniel R. Perez, an accomplished avian influenza researcher, has joined the staff at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine as its new Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and Caswell Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine.
4. Global avian influenza threat continues – The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has been busy tracking confirmed cases of avian influenza across the globe. In the past week, OIE has filed immediate notifications or follow-up reports concerning outbreaks in the United States, Israel, Nigeria, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey and Burkina Faso. The OIE stated it will conduct weekly follow-up reports on the avian influenza situation in all of those countries, as it considers none of those cases to be resolved.
5 . Minnesota Rep. notes challenges of testing AI samples quickly, accurately – Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat representing Minnesota in the House of Representatives, stated in a weekly newsletter that he recently visited the facility to learn more about what is being done at the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory. “With the continued spread of avian influenza in poultry, federal and state officials are working together to help producers and communities grappling with the economic and personal impact of this outbreak. One ongoing challenge has been the need to quickly and accurately test thousands of samples brought in by poultry producers and state officials,” said Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee. “Whether the samples are from poultry producers, hunters, or government officials, knowing where the disease is can help people make better decisions to help stop its spread and limit its damage.
6. Avian influenza’s spread slowing in Minnesota – While Minnesota has had the most confirmed cases of avian influenza in the United States, the spread of the virus in that state has slowed down. Since May 6, the state has only had two confirmed cases. That is down substantially, considering on May 5, APHIS confirmed seven cases of avian influenza in Minnesota.
7. Help is on the way for British Columbia poultry producers – The first cases in the outbreak of avian influenza in the U.S. and Canada were confirmed in British Columbia in late 2014. Now, Canadian government groups are offering assistance to poultry producers there that faced losses. Through the AgriRecovery and AgriRisk initiatives, an estimated CA$1.58 million (US$1.31 million) has been made available.
To track confirmed cases of the North American avian influenza outbreak, see our avian influenza tracker map and bookmark the avian influenza update page for news about and analysis of avian influenza.