Avian influenza cases in the United States have slowed down in recent days, but the virus remains a big issue for the poultry industry. Here are 7 new developments concerning avian influenza that industry members should be aware of:
1. USDA bracing for avian influenza’s return in the fall – While avian influenza has affected about 48 million birds in the United States since December 2014, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has only reported the presence of the virus in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways. John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the USDA, told members of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council that the agency is preparing for an even harsher outbreak in the fall, and this time reaching all four flyways in the United States. The Atlantic flyway has so far been spared.
2. Week without new AI cases ends – One day after APHIS went a full week with no new confirmed cases of avian influenza, the agency on June 17 reported H5N2 avian influenza had been confirmed in a commercial layer flock in Wright County, Iowa. That discovery pushed the total number of birds affected by avian influenza in the United States beyond 48 million.
3. Avian flu causes poult placements to drop -- The USDA’s Turkey Hatchery report, released on June 16, revealed that due to losses from avian influenza at breeder farms, U.S. turkey poult placements were down 8 percent in May and the number of turkey eggs in incubators was down 5 percent when compared to May 2014.
4. Funding for Minnesota farmers available – Minnesota poultry farmers who have suffered losses due to highly pathogenic avian influenza are eligible for disaster loans through the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority, which has appropriated $10 million to help producers replenish their flocks.
5. Iowa shipments threaten other states – Arizona quarantined farms in four counties that received shipments of birds and eggs from a farm in Iowa that after the shipment left, had birds testing positive for avian influenza. A similar situation was reported in Georgia. There, state officials confiscated and culled three flocks to prevent the spread of the virus. Neither Arizona nor Georgia have had any confirmed cases of avian influenza to date.
6. Michael Foods flock spared – A layer flock in Nebraska that had preliminarily tested positive for avian influenza went through a series of additional tests, which showed there was no presence of avian influenza. The quarantine of the farm, flock, owned by Michael Foods, has been lifted by state and federal veterinary officials.
7. Wild bird surveillance picking up in Minnesota – With 99 confirmed cases of avian influenza, Minnesota has had more cases than any other state. However, to date, only 1 of those was found in a wild bird. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to expand its wild bird testing over the summer and fall, MPR reported, to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Bookmark WATTAgNet’s avian influenza update page for news and analysis concerning avian influenza and its impact on the global poultry industry.