APHIS Monitoring Global Avian Flu Threats

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) remains vigilant in monitoring global disease threats to poultry.

APHIS chief veterinary officer Dr. Jack Shere says avian influenza outbreaks are occurring on multiple continents. “Some of the H types, H7’s and H5’s, are still circulating in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.”

The H5N2 virus was responsible for the depopulation of 50 million birds across the Midwest in 2015, and resulted in economic losses close to $1 billion dollars.

Shere tells Brownfield similar highly pathogenic strains could enter the U.S. as migratory waterfowl patterns intersect. “We want to make sure that we are aware in case there’s a new introduction of a new H-type or N-type. Or perhaps a European or Asiatic version, (as well as) what we’re seeing in Africa. So we are doing that testing of wild birds, and we do that every year.”

He says cases of low-path avian flu in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin earlier this year were contained because of lessons learned from the 2015 outbreak.

Shere credits improved surveillance, rapid response, and immediate testing. He also encourages growers to keep their guard up by adhering to strict biosecurity protocols.

(From Brownfield Ag Network)