USDA Releases Avian Flu Preparedness & Response Plan

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Animal Health, avian flu, Poultry, usda

USDA_logoThe USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a report on planning and preparations for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in advance of a potential recurrence of the disease when birds migrate south this fall.

While response operations continue in the Midwest, APHIS and its partners have used the time since the last positive detection to plan for the return of the disease, using a hypothetical worst case scenario in an effort to prepare.

APHIS’ planning activities incorporated our experience from this year’s response effort, our epidemiologic studies, and extensive feedback and input gathered from State partners, industry, academia and other stakeholders. The Fall 2015 HPAI Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan captures the results of this planning effort, organizing information on preparatory activities, policy decisions and updated strategy documents into four key areas:

– preventing or reducing future outbreaks;
– enhancing preparedness;
– improving and streamlining response capabilities; and,
– preparing for the potential use of AI vaccines.

One of the state’s hit the hardest by avian flu was Iowa, Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, released the following statement regarding the plan. “USDA has been a key partner throughout the avian influenza outbreak. The HPAI Fall Plan they released today seeks to apply the lessons learned from the outbreak should the disease reappears in the future. The plan emphasizes the need to respond even more quickly to try and stop the disease.”

“The USDA’s plan reinforces the efforts by our Department and the poultry industry to focus on increased surveillance for the disease and strengthened biosecurity on farms. Preventing the disease through biosecurity and finding it quickly if it does appear is critically important to preventing the spread we saw earlier this year. All partners are also committed to responding quickly if a case does appear to depopulate and limit the amount of virus created.”

“We will continue to closely review the full plan and seek to integrate it into our state response efforts.”