The United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Pacific flyway since mid-December. The first commercial poultry detection [JRH1] was in a turkey flock in California on January 23. USDA considers this finding to be part of the ongoing avian influenza disease incident. Commercial poultry producers follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in very controlled environments. There is no immediate public health concern as a result of these detections.
Wild Bird Findings confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories are available here.
Surveillance for avian influenza is ongoing in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.
USDA is coordinating closely with its partners, including Washington, Oregon and California, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho State officials, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on avian influenza surveillance, reporting, and control efforts. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, where we actively look for the disease and provide 100% compensation to affected producers to encourage reporting.
USDA continues to report these findings to the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) as part of the ongoing Pacific Flyway avian influenza incident. USDA is working with trading partners to minimize trade impacts on poultry and poultry products as much as possible.
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, need to continue practicing good biosecurity, preventing contact between their birds and wild birds, and reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov
USDA emphasizes that poultry, poultry products and wild birds (see biosecurity and wild birds) are safe to eat if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway. In the Pacific flyway, the H5N8 virus has mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses. This is not unexpected. These mixed-origin viruses contain the Asian-origin H5 part of the virus, which is highly pathogenic to poultry. The N parts of these viruses came from North American low pathogenic avian influenza viruses.
USDA has identified two mixed-origin viruses in the Pacific Flyway: the H5N2 virus and new H5N1 virus. The new H5N1 virus is not the same virus as the H5N1 virus found in Asia that has caused some human illness. The new H5N1 virus is not expected to be a human-health risk, but rather to have the same or a lower risk than H5N8. Detailed analysis of the virus is underway in cooperation with CDC.