USDA-APHIS | USDA confirms highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard non-commercial (non-poultry) flock in New York

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WASHINGTON, February 19, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard non-commercial (non-poultry) flock in Suffolk County, New York.

Samples from the herd were tested at Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

APHIS is working closely with state animal health agencies in New York on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined affected premises and birds on the properties are being depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock do not enter the food system.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent HPAI detections are in birds do not pose an immediate public health problem. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been reported in the United States. As a reminder, proper handling and cooking poultry and eggs at an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

As part of existing plans to combat avian influenza, federal and state partners are working together to provide additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flock. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and the USDA is working with its partners to actively screen for the disease on commercial poultry farms, in live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.

Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial grower should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. APHIS has biosecurity materials including videos, checklists and a toolkit available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program/ dtf resources/dtf resources

The USDA will report these findings to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and international trading partners. The USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to promote compliance with OIE standards and minimize trade impact. The OIE trade guidelines require member countries to do so not prohibit international trade poultry products in response to such Reports for non-poultry.

APHIS will continue to report the first case of HPAI in commercial and non-commercial backyard herds detected in a state, but will not report additional discoveries in the state. All cases in commercial and non-commercial backyard flocks are listed on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/avian-influenza/2022-. hpai

In addition to good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or by calling APHIS toll-free at 1-866 -536- 7593. APHIS urges producers to bring birds indoors whenever possible to prevent further exposure. The Animal Health Protection Act authorizes APHIS to compensate producers for birds and eggs that have to be depopulated during a disease control effort. APHIS also offers compensation for disposal activities and virus elimination activities. For more biosecurity information for non-commercial backyard flocks, visit http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

Additional background
Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and is transmitted by free-flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and others shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two protein groups: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, of which there are 16 (H1-H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, of which there are 9 (N1-N9) . Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be further broken down into different strains that circulate within flight routes/geographical regions. AI viruses are further classified according to their pathogenicity (low or high) – the ability of a particular virus strain to cause disease in domestic poultry.

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