News

US AI outbreaks spring 2017

April 14, 2017

Alabama State Veterinarian
April 14, 2017
Order Rescinding the Prohibition of Poultry Exhibitions and the Assembling of Poultry to be Sold Issued

Montgomery, AL – After weeks of extensive testing of both commercial and backyard flocks within the surveillance zones established in Alabama, there has been no new detection of avian influenza. Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan in consultation with State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier, officially rescinds the Order Prohibiting Poultry Exhibitions and the Assembly of Poultry to be Sold in Alabama* as of today. This means as of April 14, 2017, all poultry exhibitions, sales at fairs, festivals, swap meets, exotic sales and live bird markets, flea markets and auctions are allowed to resume their normal operating routines.

“We are quite confident the avian influenza threat is over. We are in the recovery phase at this time and are working to enhance our response capabilities should we face another outbreak in the future,” said Dr. Frazier.



Tennessee State Veterinarian Releases Avian Influenza Control Zone April 12, 2017
— The state veterinarian has released the control zone surrounding two Lincoln County poultry farms affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The statewide poultry health advisory is also lifted, and poultry owners can now resume regular activity. “We have determined through extensive testing that HPAI has not spread to other poultry flocks in our 10 kilometer control zone,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “Poultry owners across Tennessee should continue to monitor their flocks and immediately report any spike in illness or death.”
On March 4, the first confirmed detection of H7N9 HPAI occurred in a commercial chicken flock in Lincoln County, Tenn. On March 14, samples from a commercial flock on a premises less than two miles away also tested positive for the same strain of avian influenza. Once HPAI was detected, the flocks were depopulated and buried and animal health officials established a controlled zone in the 10 kilometer radius of the affected facilities. Poultry movement was restricted within the zone and birds from commercial and backyard flocks were tested weekly for three weeks. No additional samples have tested positive for avian influenza and testing is now complete. Cleaning and disinfection continues at the two affected premises.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (3/31/17) — Avian influenza has been detected in a second Christian County poultry facility, the Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting today. Human transmission has not been detected, but all 2,700 chickens at the facility have been depopulated as a standard public health safety measure.

Tests were conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which identified the presence of avian flu – H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza - at the western Kentucky facility, according to DPH. There were no signs of disease in the birds at the time of testing. These findings mirror the positive test results announced at another Christian County facility earlier this month where H7N9 was also detected and the facility’s birds were depopulated. Human transmission was not detected in either case nor has the virus been found to be spreading to the human population in Alabama and Tennessee, where the virus has been detected in poultry.

“The risk of avian influenza transmission from poultry to humans is very low, especially when poultry workers use proper precautions and personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Ardis Hoven, infectious disease specialist for DPH. “Person-to-person transmission of avian influenza viruses is even more unlikely. However, it is our duty as public health clinicians to monitor the presence and patterns of this virus to make sure, if there is a threat to the human population, we are aware and able to respond.”

Avian influenza occurs naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can affect domestic poultry more severely. Avian influenza viruses are spread through direct contact with affected birds or their waste, including contaminated bedding, feed, or water. Affected birds shed the virus in their saliva, mucous, and feces.

Only people who have direct contact with affected birds or their waste, or who live on farms where affected birds have been identified are potentially at risk. For individuals who might potentially be exposed to infected birds either as a farm worker or someone involved in the depopulation process, wearing personal protective equipment is advised in addition to hand hygiene. The best way to prevent infection with avian influenza is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible.

“A person having direct contact could become infected if an adequate amount of virus gets into the eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled while disturbing contaminated bedding,” said Dr. Hoven. “Individuals experiencing symptoms of influenza, and who have had contact with affected poultry, should seek medical care for evaluation and testing.”

Laboratory specimens are required to make an official diagnosis. Antiviral therapy, used in the treatment of seasonal influenza, is also the treatment for avian influenza. Specimens for influenza testing must be obtained before initiating antiviral treatment. The local health department and DPH will coordinate testing of those specimens at the state public health laboratory.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to the public's health from this North American HPAI H7N9 virus poultry outbreak in the U.S. to be low. CDC has issued precautionary guidance for the public in the context of previous domestic HPAI outbreaks. This includes avoiding wild birds and observing them only from a distance; avoiding contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died; and avoiding contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.

For more information on avian influenza visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/.



Georgia Dept of Agriculture Press Release (excerpts)
Monday, March 27, 2017

Confirmed H7, Presumptive Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Georgia

A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry (chicken- TB) breeding operation located in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7, presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). This is the first confirmation of avian influenza in domestic poultry in Georgia.

The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for the commercial facility and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. As a precaution the affected flock has been depopulated. Officials are testing and monitoring other flocks within the surveillance area and no other flocks have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs.

The announcement follows similar confirmations from Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee in recent weeks. The Georgia case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza because the flock did not show any signs of illness. While LPAI is different from HPAI, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure. Wild birds are the source of the virus. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild birds, and can infect wild migratory birds without causing illness.

The official order prohibiting poultry exhibitions and the assembling of poultry to be sold issued by the state veterinarian’s office on March 16, 2017, remains in effect. The order prohibits all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets, and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale. Shipments of eggs or baby chicks from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), Avian Influenza Clean, approved facilities are not affected by this order.



Three Alabama Poultry Flocks Test Positive for Low Path AI
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
(Excerpts from Alabama Dept of Agriculture and Industries)
Montgomery, Ala. - State Veterinarian, Dr. Tony Frazier, confirms that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Pickens County and a backyard flock located in Madison County have both tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).
This commercial flock has been placed under quarantine. While this is different from the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus that has been found recently in the United States, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure.
In addition, a backyard flock located in Madison County has also been confirmed positive for low pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza (LPAI) by NVSL. Surveillance zones have been put in place surrounding the locations in both Pickens and Madison counties.
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Dr. Tony Frazier issued an official Order Prohibiting Poultry Exhibitions and the Assembling of Poultry to Be Sold. The order prohibits: all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection, or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale. This order remains in effect. Shipments of eggs or baby chicks from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) approved facilities are not affected by this order.
“The health of our poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With confirmed cases of low pathogenic avian influenza in Alabama in both commercial and backyard flocks, the order reducing the assembly and commingling of poultry is the most effective way to practice strict biosecurity measures in our state.”



Low pathogenic avian influenza detected in western Kentucky
Christian County flock depopulated; surveillance continues

March 20, 2017, Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture
Federal and state authorities say a case of low pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a commercial poultry flock in western Kentucky.
Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the presence of H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza in samples taken from the Christian County premises.

The virus exposure at the premises was initially detected by the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville while conducting a routine pre-slaughter test last week. Dr. Stout said there were no clinical signs of disease in the birds. The affected premises is under quarantine, and the flock of approximately 22,000 hens was depopulated as a precautionary measure, Dr. Stout said.




Second Case of HPAI Detected in Lincoln County

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Tennessee Dept of Agriculture

NASHVILLE — The state veterinarian confirms that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has sickened a second commercial chicken breeder flock within the existing controlled quarantined zone in Lincoln County, Tenn.

On March 14, samples taken from the flock tested positive for avian influenza. Following federal laboratory confirmation of H7N9 HPAI, officials began depopulation of the affected premises.

This particular strain of avian influenza is the same that affected a commercial chicken flock earlier this month in Lincoln County. The two premises are less than two miles apart. Due to that close proximity, operators at the second premises were closely monitoring and regularly testing poultry for signs of avian influenza. The swift detection enabled immediate response.

“Wild birds can carry this strain of avian influenza.” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “Given the close proximity of the two premises, this is not unexpected. We will continue to execute our plan, working quickly to prevent the virus from spreading further.”

On March 4, the first confirmed detection of H7N9 HPAI occurred in a commercial poultry flock in Lincoln County. On March 8, a commercial poultry flock in Giles County tested positive for H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). Due to the contagious nature of avian influenza and its threat to domesticated poultry, the best way to contain the virus is to depopulate affected flocks and then disinfect affected premises.

Neither HPAI nor LPAI pose a risk to the food supply. No affected animals entered the food chain. Furthermore, the Tennessee Department of Health confirms that the risk of a human becoming ill with avian influenza during poultry illness incidents is very low. This virus is not the same as the China H7N9 virus affecting Asia and is genetically distinct.

The primary difference between LPAI and HPAI is mortality rate in domesticated poultry. A slight change to the viral structure can make a virus deadly for birds. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild migratory birds without causing illness in those birds. With LPAI, domesticated chickens and turkeys may show little or no signs of illness. However, HPAI is often fatal for domesticated poultry.

State and federal officials continue to monitor and test poultry located in the areas immediately surrounding the three affected premises. No other flocks have shown signs of illness.
- See more at: http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/news/49265#sthash.l9kazLID.dpuf



State of Alabama Dept of Agriculture and Industries
PRESS RELEASE (excerpts)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Stop Movement Order Issued on Certain Poultry in Alabama
Montgomery, Ala. — State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier in consultation with Commissioner John McMillan today has issued a stop movement order for certain poultry in Alabama. “The health of poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama on three separate premises we feel that the stop movement order is the most effective way to implement biosecurity for all poultry in our state.”
The first two investigations were on two separate premises in north Alabama. One flock of chickens at a commercial breeder operation located in Lauderdale County, Ala. was found to be suspect for avian influenza. No significant mortality in the flock was reported. The other premise was a backyard flock in Madison County, Ala. Samples from both premises have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa and are being tested to determine presence of the virus.
The most recent investigation began following routine surveillance while executing Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan. USDA poultry technicians collected samples at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Scottsboro located in Jackson County, Ala. on Sunday, March 12. Samples collected were suspect and those samples are on the way to the USDA Lab in Ames, Iowa.
Dr. Frazier reminds poultry owners to be vigilant about biosecurity. It is the department’s responsibility to protect backyard flock, exhibition, show and commercial poultry and stopping the movement of certain poultry is the most effective way to do so.
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) on a joint incident response. The U.S. has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, backyard birds, live bird markets and in migratory waterfowl populations.
TB. The stop movement is a mandate from State Veterinarian Tony Frazier who said show birds, poultry at auctions, exhibitions, and flea markets can't be moved. Frazier stated any flocks identified as non-commercial must be kept in place.




March 9, 2017 (WATTAgNet)

Tennessee has second avian flu case in commercial flock

Unlike the state’s first case of avian flu, this one is a low pathogenic variant

A flock of chickens at a commercial broiler breeder operation in Giles County, Tennessee, has tested positive for low pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza.

The state’s second avian influenza case in 2017 was confirmed on March 9 by Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher. The state’s first case, a highly pathogenic strain of H7N9 avian influenza, was announced on March 5 and involved a broiler breeder flock in Lincoln County.

According to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, officials do not believe that one premises sickened the other. Hatcher did not reveal for which company the birds in the Giles County flock were being raised, but he did say it was not the same company as the highly pathogenic avian influenza case, which was Tyson Foods.

Giles County is directly west of Lincoln County.

The case was discovered after routine screening tests at the Giles County operation indicated the presence of avian influenza. Tests performed at state and federal laboratories confirmed the existence of low pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza.

“This is why we test and monitor for avian influenza,” State Hatcher said. “When routine testing showed a problem at this facility, the operators immediately took action and notified our lab. That fast response is critical to stopping the spread of this virus.”

Control measures in place

As a precaution, the affected Giles County flock was depopulated and has been buried. The premises is under quarantine.

Domesticated poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site are also under quarantine and are being tested and monitored for illness. To date, all additional samples have tested negative for avian influenza and no other flocks within the area have shown signs of illness.




March 7, 2017
Low Path AI has been identified in a commercial Turkey flock of 84000 in Wisconsin. The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection are responding to this event.
• Testing of the commercial turkey flock occurred after the birds exhibited signs of depression.
• Samples were submitted for laboratory testing and were confirmed positive for influenza A virus H5N2 LPAI North American wild bird origin. Both the HA and NA are distinct from the EA/AM H5N2 clade 2.3.4.4 viruses from 2015.
• The infected premises was quarantined and the turkeys will be depopulated through controlled marketing.
• A comprehensive epidemiological investigation with enhanced surveillance is ongoing.


USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee

March 7, 2017 USDA/APHIS Update
USDA Issues Update on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Tennessee

USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the full subtype for the highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza reported in Lincoln County, TN. The virus has been identified as North American wild bird lineage H7N9 HPAI based upon full genome sequence analysis of the samples at the NVSL. All eight gene segments of the virus are North American wild bird lineage. This is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia. While the subtype is the same as the China H7N9 lineage that emerged in 2013, this is a different virus and is genetically distinct from the China H7N9 lineage.

As additional background, avian influenza viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: 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 subtypes are further broken down into different strains. Genetically related strains within a subtype are referred to as lineage.

USDA continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response. Birds on the affected premises have been depopulated, and burial is in progress. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.

Federal and state partners continue to conduct surveillance and testing of poultry within an expanded 10-mile radius around the affected premises to ensure all commercial operations in the area are disease-free. In addition, strict movement controls are in place within an established control zone to prevent the disease from spreading. As of yesterday, all commercial premises within the surveillance area had been tested, and all of the tests from the surrounding facilities were negative for disease. Officials will continue to observe commercial and backyard poultry for signs of influenza, and all flocks in the surveillance zone will be tested again.

The rapid testing and response in this incident is the result of extensive planning with local, state, federal and industry partners to ensure the most efficient and effective coordination. Since the previous HPAI detections in 2015 and 2016, APHIS and its state and industry partners have learned valuable lessons to help implement stronger preparedness and response capabilities.



March 5, 2017, Washington – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI) of North American wild bird lineage in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States this year. The flock of 73,500 is located within the Mississippi flyway.
Samples from the affected flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. Virus isolation is ongoing, and NVSL expects to characterize the neuraminidase protein, or “N-type”, of the virus within 48 hours.
APHIS is working closely with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to prevent illness and contain disease spread