The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial chicken breeder flock of 13,800 chickens in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.
Samples from the flock were tested at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials in Oklahoma on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
“While this case of HPAI is not unexpected, we have prepared for this and are working closely with USDA and livestock producers to control and eradicate this disease from our state,” said Dr. Rod Hall, state veterinarian for Oklahoma. “We have activated our Avian Influenza Response Plan and are working diligently with federal partners to prevent further spread of the virus.”
As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flocks. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry also announced that beginning May 1, 2022, all poultry exhibition, public sales and swap meets are banned in the state until further notice in order to halt any potential spread of this virus. The ban is set to end on July 30th, unless evidence shows it should be extended.
USDA will report these findings to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern. OIE trade guidelines also call on member countries to not impose bans on the international trade of poultry commodities in response to notifications in non-poultry.
APHIS will continue to announce the first case of HPAI in commercial and backyard flocks detected in a State but will not announce subsequent detections in the state. All cases in commercial and backyard flocks will be listed on the APHIS website here.
Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available here.
In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials. APHIS also urges producers to consider bringing birds indoors when possible to further prevent exposures.