High Path Avian Flu Found in California

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA_logoUSDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5N8 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Stanislaus County, California. This is the first finding of HPAI in a commercial poultry operation since the disease was discovered last month in wild birds and backyard flocks in Washington and Oregon.

Samples from the flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS) and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding. APHIS is partnering closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which has quarantined the facility. APHIS and CDFA have initiated an incident command response, and APHIS will assist CDFA in depopulating the remaining birds on the property to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the involved flock will not enter the food system.

H5N8 has not been shown to present a health risk to the public. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area, following existing avian influenza response plans. These plans also will include preventing the movement of risky animals or products out of the immediate area to prevent further disease spread. The United States 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, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.

Poultry, Turkey, usda