In light of the recent detections of avian influenza (AI) in the United States, the U.S. poultry industry would like to assure the public that detailed response plans are in place for controlling the spread of the virus and for eliminating the virus entirely. The U.S. government and poultry industries have sophisticated systems and techniques to detect the introduction of the virus into a commercial poultry flock and have proven methods to quickly eliminate the virus. The U.S. poultry industry has a strong avian influenza testing and detection program administered by the federal National Poultry Improvement Plan, in addition to each state’s individual response plan. Poultry farmers also maintain strict biosecurity measures year-round, keep their flocks protected from wild birds and routinely test flocks for avian influenza.
The network of state and federal agencies, working in conjunction with the poultry industry, has already executed procedures to quarantine any affected flock and reduce the impact of these instances. None of birds from the affected flocks are viable for sale and have not entered the food chain.
Though two different strains of the AI virus have been detected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have confirmed there is no immediate public health concern with either of these avian influenza viruses. Both H5N2 and H5N8 viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date. As a reminder though, the proper handling and cooking of poultry to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.
The poultry industry will continue to monitor flocks for the virus.