HPAI UPdate # 5: Highly pathogenic H5N2 Avian influenza increases, commercial poultry affected in the US

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By Pastor Alfonso, CENSA, member of the Avian Diseases Working Group, 13/3/2015

Currently, there are reports of an increased number of avian influenza (AI) outbreaks hitting commercial poultry in new regions of the United States. The new outbreak locations move greatly in eastern direction even constituting the first discoveries in the migratory Mississippi Flyway since current events starting at the end of 2014. This migratory Flyway have even major importance for the Caribbean region as risk of AI virus introduction by wild bird.

Initially, The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minnesota. Afterward, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) reports new outbreaks for the same strain. On March 11, 2015 – USDA/APHIS confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Boone County, Arkansas.

These recent AI outbreaks have been detected so far in turkey farm, compromising several thousands of birds. The new affected US states have no informed previous detection of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in wild bird during the phase of increased surveillance. Therefore, the progression of AI outbreaks could be likely related, at least in part, to secondary transmission from a previously infected premise. 

USDA recommend all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths.

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