Avian influenza outbreak

Avian influenza viruses found in Northwestern states

February 25, 2015
Highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus, including one that killed turkeys in California, have been found in five Northwestern states since mid-December 2014.

No people are known to have become sick in connection with the avian influenza viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking a cautious approach until more is known about the viruses, and its recommendations are consistent with guidance for influenza viruses associated with severe disease in humans, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report distributed Feb. 3.

Those recommendations are available as part of the CDC guidance here.

​Strains of highly pathogenic H5 influenza virus had been identified in wild and captive birds 36 times in five states by early February. Of these incidents, 25 were in wild birds, seven in backyard flocks, three in captive raptors, and one in a commercial turkey farm.
Source: USDA APHIS

An H5N8 influenza virus outbreak that started in December killed about 4,500 turkeys out of a 145,000-bird flock in Stanislaus County, which is south of Sacramento, according to a report from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE). The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Jan. 24 that the agency had confirmed the virus was present.

APHIS information indicates state agriculture officials implemented a quarantine on the farm and that APHIS and state authorities would depopulate the remaining birds to prevent spread of the disease.

By early February, infections with highly pathogenic H5N2, H5N8, and H5N1 influenza viruses of Asian lineage had been found 36 times: 25 times in wild aquatic birds, seven in backyard bird flocks, three in captive raptors, and once in a commercial farm, according to information from APHIS and the CDC. Those infections were in California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Dr. Annette Jones, California’s state veterinarian, said in late January that the turkey farm outbreak remained limited to one location, which was fairly isolated even though other poultry farms are in the same county.

The birds are kept indoors, but the farm is in a flyway used by migratory waterfowl. Epidemiologists were just starting to look into how the virus spread to the turkeys, she said.

Dr. Jones noted that avian influenza viruses can affect backyard birds, and she advised that small animal veterinarians educate clients who own such animals about clinical signs of influenza infection.

Information from APHIS indicates an H5N1 influenza virus found in Washington state is a different strain from that associated with illnesses in Asia and Africa, and it is not expected to be a human health risk. The virus was found in an American green-winged teal, confirmed by testing Jan. 16.

Hector Castro, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said the H5N1 virus was discovered in Whatcom County along the Canadian border, where highly pathogenic H5N8 and H5N2 influenza viruses also have been found. His department’s response has included warning poultry owners to be aware of the highly pathogenic influenza viruses present in wild birds.

Castro said this year was the first in which such highly pathogenic influenza viruses have been found in Washington, despite a large population of wild birds that migrate through the state.

Avian influenza resources

Links to news reports

Quarantine set in Clallam County to control poultry movement – WA Dept of Agriculture– Jan 21, 2015

Bird flu strikes poultry flocks near Benton City – KING5.com – Jan 5, 2015

WSDA activates avian influenza response plan in Benton County – WA Dept of Agriculture– Jan 2, 2015

Washington state, feds testing birds for avian flu – Spokesman Review – Dec 30, 2014

West Coast poultry producers brace for fallout from bird flu – Seattle Times – Dec 26, 2014

WDFW seeks public’s help in testing wild birds for flu – Chinook Observer – Dec 24, 2014

Avian influenza quarantine lifted in Benton and Franklin counties

January 30, 2015
A large game flock in Okanagan County is the latest in Washington state to have been confirmed with highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI), although the specific strain of the disease has not yet been identified. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has imposed a quarantine to limit poultry movement as a result. The flock of 5,000 birds underwent testing as recently as November but at the time, showed no signs of AI within the flock.

Three strains of AI have been detected in Washington so far. H5N8 was found in a falcon that was fed wild duck. In Whatcom, Benton and Clallam counties, H5N2 has been detected. H5N1 type AI was found in a wild duck in Whatcom County, the same strain that’s been found in Europe and Asia which has sickened some Europeans. The strain found here is genetically different, however.

Since initial reports of the avian influenza virus were found in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, highly-pathogenic strains of the AI virus have been discovered in Idaho and a commercial turkey operation in central California. Avian influenza has yet to be detected in commercial poultry operations located in Washington. According to WSDA and the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, populations of wild birds have greatly increased this year, making it possible that pockets of positive flocks will continue to be found.

After 21 days, the quarantine that the WA State Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA) imposed in parts of Benton and Franklin counties has been lifted. The quarantine restricted the movement of eggs, poultry and poultry products after being found in two backyard flocks in the area. Although still at risk for transmission, the virus has not spread beyond the original two sites. Restrictions still remain in place in Clallam County.

WSDA reports that although the risk to the public is low, it’s not completely non-existent. As a precautionary measure, anyone who has had close contact with infected birds will be contacted by a public health official. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products. Proper cooking is, of course, required in any wild or domestic poultry product.

Owners of backyard flocks should remain vigilant and take precautions to protect their birds from contact with wild birds. Dead or sick domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056. Contact the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 606-8768 to report sick or dead wild birds.

For more information and to download avian influenza information and resources, visit WSDA’s website.

WSDA establishes quarantine to control poultry movement in SE Washington

January 9, 2015
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) reports they have adopted an emergency rule establishing a quarantine zone for avian influenza (AI) that covers approximately 20 square miles surrounding Benton and Franklin counties where AI has been discovered in flocks of mixed poultry and other birds. This follows the discovery of highly-pathogenic H5N2 AI in Benton County. AI has also been found in British Columbia, Whatcom County, WA, and southern Oregon.

The quarantine will be in effect for at least 240 days and will restrict the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products outside of the quarantine zone.

WSDA has been working with the US Department of Agriculture on a surveillance plan which includes finding volunteer owners of domestic waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, who are willing to participate in testing.

While AI was found in commercial poultry operations in British Columbia, it’s only been found in wild birds and backyard flocks in the United States.

Testing of wild birds is ongoing to determine how far the disease has spread. Two separate strains of the H5 virus were identified in a wild duck and a captive gyrfalcon in Whatcom County last month. In Benton County, additional testing is being done on 50 birds that died within one week. The flock included domestic waterfowl that may have had access to migratory birds. The H5N8 virus was found in guinea fowl and a backyard poultry flock in Winston, OR.

WSDA reports there is no immediate public health concern. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products. Proper cooking is, of course, required in any wild or domestic poultry product.

Owners of backyard flocks should be vigilant and take precautions to protect their birds from contact with wild birds. Dead or sick domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056. Contact the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 606-8768 to report sick or dead wild birds.

For more information and to download avian influenza information and resources, visit WSDA’s website.

Avian flu found in Southern Oregon

December 19, 2014
Bird flu has been detected in Winston, Ore., in Southern Oregon.

A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has been found in guinea fowl and chickens in a small backyard flock in Southern Oregon, the state Department of Agriculture said today.

The H5N8 virus was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is similar to the virus that killed a captive gyrfalcon this week in Whatcom County, Wash., in the northwest corner.

The flock of approximately 100 birds in Douglas County had access to the outdoors, according to ODA. A pond and marsh on the premises are frequented by migratory birds.

The falcon in Washington died after eating a wild duck shot by a hunter at Wiser Lake 3 miles southwest of Lynden, Wash. Another wild duck found dead at the same lake tested positive this week for H5N2 avian influenza.

For more information, read Capital Press’ full article.

WSDA to hold town hall meeting in Lynden on avian influenza

December 16, 2014
The Washington State Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA) announced that there will be a town hall meeting Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 6pm to discuss avian influenza. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed today the presence of two separate strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in Whatcom County. HPAI H5N2 was confirmed in a northern pintail duck and HPAI H5N8 was confirmed in a captive gyrfalcon that had been fed hunter-killed wild birds.

To date, no cases of avian influenza have been reported in the state’s domestic poultry population. State Veterinarian Dr. Joe Baker reports that it’s not uncommon for wild waterfowl to carry the virus, which can be deadly to poultry and other birds.

According to the WSDA, humans are rarely affected by avian influenza, although some cases have occurred in foreign countries where there has been close contact with infected birds.

It’s critical that poultry owners take steps to protect their birds. The WSDA town hall meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Mt. Baker Rotary Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden. Poultry producers or owners of backyard flocks are encouraged to attend.

To report sick domestic birds, contact the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056. Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 606-8768. Concerns about sickness from suspected HPAI in you or your family, should be reported to Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127.

For more information, read WSDA’s full press release.

British Columbia’s Avian influenza (AI) outbreak

December 4, 2014

Washington State Department of Agriculture
The State Veterinarian’s office at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has new information surrounding the avian influenza (AI) outbreak in British Columbia. The information below includes a compilation of information WSDA has issued over the past couple of days updated as of this morning, as well as USDA import restrictions that were issued this morning. Please contact the WSDA at (360) 902-1800 if you have any questions.

NOTE: There is NO indication that AI is currently present in Washington and that these steps are strictly precautionary at this point.

Avian influenza (AI) H5 has been confirmed on 2 farms and two more farms are on quarantined as high risk in the Fraser Valley; a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a broiler farm in Chilliwack, British Columbia. AI is a highly infectious disease of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, and other birds.

It has been confirmed verbally by USDA that the virus strain affecting the Canadian flocks IS a highly-pathogenic strain, though the neuramidase (“N”) number has not yet been reported. IN addition to the issuance of movement restrictions by USDA this morning, local USDA official have contacted their port staff and urged them to be as diligent as they can be in observing that poultry conveyances returning to the US have been well cleaned and disinfected. Local Border Patrol authorities are also being contacted in this regard.

WSDA is taking the following initial steps:

  • WSDA has initiated plans for increased surveillance sampling of poultry on premises near the Canadian border in Whatcom County, where we have had existing agreements in place for several years for routine AI sampling (High Risk Flocks).
  • WSDA has initiated plans for increased surveillance sampling of poultry at the Everson Livestock Auction. We will continue to communicate with our partners at the USDA as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • WSDA’s Facebook page has included a brief summary of the Canadian situation, a statement about our increased surveillance testing, and a reminder for all poultry owners and producers to be mindful of biosecurity measures that they can use to help mitigate risk of introduction of AI (or any other disease) into their flocks. It will also include our sick bird hotline number, and offer links to web pages that offer recommendations on cleaning and disinfection, and on biosecurity for poultry.
  • WSDA Facebook Page Link – please continue to check this page for the most recent updates

More Information:

Import Alert: HPAI restrictions for AI

Issuance Date: December 4, 2014

Effective immediately, and until further notice, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) is placing temporary prohibitions on the importation of poultry, commercial birds, other types of birds ( research, performing), ratites, any avian hatching eggs, unprocessed avian products and by-products, and certain fresh poultry products from British Columbia, Canada. Any of these commodities originating from or transiting through the province of British Columbia are prohibited entry to the United States, based on the diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza in commercial poultry. These restrictions may be updated as additional epidemiological information is obtained.

Previously, VS has placed avian commodity prohibitions on the following countries due to the presence of HPAI: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cambodia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire), Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, People’s Republic of China, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Taipei Chinese/Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. These prohibitions continue in effect.

Processed avian products and by-products originating from or transiting through the province of British Columbia, Canada and imported as cargo, must be accompanied by an APHIS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products were treated according to APHIS requirements.

Processed avian products and by-products for personal use originating from or transiting through the province of British Columbia, Canada entering in passenger baggage not having a thoroughly cooked appearance, or not shelf-stable as a result of APHIS approved packaging and cooking (i.e. packaged in hermetically sealed containers and cooked by a commercial method after such packing to produce articles that are shelf stable without refrigeration), must also be accompanied by a APHIS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products/by-products were treated according to APHIS requirements.

Unprocessed avian products and by-products originating from or transiting through the province of British Columbia, Canada are not permitted to enter the United States, unless consigned to a USDA approved establishment or accompanied by an import permit issued by Veterinary Services. This also includes hunter harvested, non-fully finished avian trophies and meat in passenger baggage.

Canadian pet birds, (including U.S. returning birds) originating from provinces other than British Columbia, Canada, can enter the United States from Canada through a land border port only with a valid APHIS issued import permit and port inspection.

Canadian pet birds, (including U.S. returning birds and zoological birds) originating from, or transiting the province of British Columbia, Canada will be allowed entry to the United States under an APHIS import permit, and a CFIA endorsed health certificate and must undergo a 30-day quarantine.

For any other questions, please contact a local Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Veterinary Regulatory Support (VRS) Agriculture Quarantine Inspection (AQI), Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO), or PPQ VRS headquarters staff in Riverdale, Maryland at (301) 851-2295.

Avian flu found in Southern Oregon

December 19, 2014
Bird flu has been detected in Winston, Ore., in Southern Oregon.

A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has been found in guinea fowl and chickens in a small backyard flock in Southern Oregon, the state Department of Agriculture said today.

The H5N8 virus was confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is similar to the virus that killed a captive gyrfalcon this week in Whatcom County, Wash., in the northwest corner.

The flock of approximately 100 birds in Douglas County had access to the outdoors, according to ODA. A pond and marsh on the premises are frequented by migratory birds.

The falcon in Washington died after eating a wild duck shot by a hunter at Wiser Lake 3 miles southwest of Lynden, Wash. Another wild duck found dead at the same lake tested positive this week for H5N2 avian influenza.

For more information, read Capital Press’ full article.

WSDA to hold town hall meeting in Lynden on avian influenza

December 16, 2014
The Washington State Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA) announced that there will be a town hall meeting Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 6pm to discuss avian influenza. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed today the presence of two separate strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in Whatcom County. HPAI H5N2 was confirmed in a northern pintail duck and HPAI H5N8 was confirmed in a captive gyrfalcon that had been fed hunter-killed wild birds.

To date, no cases of avian influenza have been reported in the state’s domestic poultry population. State Veterinarian Dr. Joe Baker reports that it’s not uncommon for wild waterfowl to carry the virus, which can be deadly to poultry and other birds.

According to the WSDA, humans are rarely affected by avian influenza, although some cases have occurred in foreign countries where there has been close contact with infected birds.

It’s critical that poultry owners take steps to protect their birds. The WSDA town hall meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Mt. Baker Rotary Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden. Poultry producers or owners of backyard flocks are encouraged to attend.

To report sick domestic birds, contact the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056. Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 606-8768. Concerns about sickness from suspected HPAI in you or your family, should be reported to Washington State Department of Health at (800) 525-0127.

For more information, read WSDA’s full press release.

British Columbia’s Avian influenza (AI) outbreak

December 4, 2014 – Washington State Department of Agriculture
The State Veterinarian’s office at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has new information surrounding the avian influenza (AI) outbreak in British Columbia. The information below includes a compilation of information WSDA has issued over the past couple of days updated as of this morning, as well as USDA import restrictions that were issued this morning. Please contact the WSDA at (360) 902-1800 if you have any questions.

NOTE: There is NO indication that AI is currently present in Washington and that these steps are strictly precautionary at this point.

Avian influenza (AI) H5 has been confirmed on 2 farms and two more farms are on quarantined as high risk in the Fraser Valley; a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a broiler farm in Chilliwack, British Columbia. AI is a highly infectious disease of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, and other birds.

It has been confirmed verbally by USDA that the virus strain affecting the Canadian flocks IS a highly-pathogenic strain, though the neuramidase (“N”) number has not yet been reported. IN addition to the issuance of movement restrictions by USDA this morning, local USDA official have contacted their port staff and urged them to be as diligent as they can be in observing that poultry conveyances returning to the US have been well cleaned and disinfected. Local Border Patrol authorities are also being contacted in this regard.

WSDA is taking the following initial steps:

• WSDA has initiated plans for increased surveillance sampling of poultry on premises near the Canadian border in Whatcom County, where we have had existing agreements in place for several years for routine AI sampling (High Risk Flocks).

• WSDA has initiated plans for increased surveillance sampling of poultry at the Everson Livestock Auction. We will continue to communicate with our partners at the USDA as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

• WSDA’s Facebook page has included a brief summary of the Canadian situation, a statement about our increased surveillance testing, and a reminder for all poultry owners and producers to be mindful of biosecurity measures that they can use to help mitigate risk of introduction of AI (or any other disease) into their flocks. It will also include our sick bird hotline number, and offer links to web pages that offer recommendations on cleaning and disinfection, and on biosecurity for poultry.

WSDA Facebook Page Link – please continue to check this page for the most recent updates

More Information:

CFIA Continues AI Investigation in BC
• Avian Influenza (AI) – USDA
Cornell University Veterinarians Partners in Animal Health, Avian Influenza
Poultry Manual: Cleaning and Disinfection of Facilities, Equipment, and Vehicles
USDA Biosecurity Guide for Poultry and Bird Owners
USDA Biosecurity
Poultry Service Industry Biosecurity Guide Canada 2014