APHIS announces new avian flu cases, new reporting regime

By Spencer Chase

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 17, 2015 - USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today a new reporting model to keep up with the rapid spread of high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the nation's chicken and turkey flocks. Six new outbreaks of the disease were announced today alone, bringing the total of confirmed instances of the H5N2 strain of the disease to 47.

The new cases ranged from northeastern South Dakota to northwestern Wisconsin through Minnesota, the state hit hardest by the disease. Of the 47 nationwide cases of H5N2, 26 are in Minnesota, the nation's largest turkey-producing state. Four of the new cases are in Minnesota, with one each in South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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Two of the outbreaks in Minnesota are repeat detections in their respective counties. The disease was found in Stearns County for the sixth time and Kandiyohi County for the fifth time. The disease was first confirmed in the Mississippi flyway on March 4 of this year, in Minnesota's Pope County.

APHIS also announced changes in the reporting plans for new cases of the disease ahead of an anticipated uptick in detections in the upcoming spring migration of wild birds. Announcements will now be issued daily rather than as detected.

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In the event of a new strain or spread of the disease to a new state, APHIS said it would issue stakeholder notifications and update the website used for disseminating HPAI information.

In following with protocols, the affected flocks have been quarantined and will be depopulated. The total number of birds involved in the six flocks is just over 458,000.

No birds from affected flocks will enter the food system, APHIS said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk posed by HPAI to humans is low. No cases of the disease have been detected in humans.

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