Poultry owners urged to maintain biosecurity efforts as USDA announces HPAI in Indiana
State Veterinarian Doug Meckes is encouraging poultry farmers and flock owners in North Carolina to maintain strict biosecurity measures after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Ind., on Jan. 15. It was the first detection of HPAI in the United States since last June.
This is a different strain of HPAI than the strains that caused the 2015 outbreak, but it is still concerning. Poultry owners and growers should be aware of and comply with all import requirements for movement of poultry into the state. For more information, go to www.ncagr.gov/avianflu.
There are no known cases of H7N8 infections in humans. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI.
Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University, which is a part of USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed by USDA. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. Indiana officials quarantined the affected premises and depopulated the flock. Depopulation prevents the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
As part of existing avian influenza response plans, Indiana and federal authorities are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area. At press time, there were no indications of additional cases.
The rapid testing and response in this incident is the result of months of planning with local, state, federal and industry partners to ensure the most efficient and effective coordination. Since the previous HPAI detections in 2015, APHIS and its state and industry partners have learned valuable lessons to help implement stronger preparedness and response capabilities. In September, APHIS published an HPAI Fall Preparedness and Response Plan that captures the results of this planning effort, organizing information on preparatory activities, policy decisions and updated strategy documents.
Anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. To facilitate such a review, a biosecurity self-assessment and educational materials can be found at http://www.uspoultry.org/animal_husbandry/intro.cfm. Additional information is available at www.ncagr.gov/avianflu.