The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed Dec. 19 the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5N8 avian influenza in guinea fowl and chickens from a small backyard poultry flock in Winston, Ore. The flock of approximately 100 birds has access to the outdoors. A pond and a marsh on the premises are frequented by migratory birds.
The H5N8 virus has NOT been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the U.S.
APHIS said there is no immediate public health concern, as the H5N8 virus has been found in birds in other parts of the world and has not caused any human infection to date.
Surveillance for avian influenza is ongoing in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations. Additionally, commercial poultry producers follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in very controlled environments. Birds from the affected backyard flock will not enter the food chain. All poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat as long as they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The finding in Oregon was quickly reported and identified due to increased awareness of avian influenza in light of the HPAI H5 findings in wild birds in Washington State earlier in the week. This H5N8 virus is the same virus that was found in the Washington State gyrfalcons.
Oregon State officials and USDA are working jointly to respond to this detection, following existing HPAI response plans. The State of Oregon quarantined the affected premises, and APHIS will assist the State in depopulating the remaining birds to prevent the spread of the disease. Additional surveillance of poultry around the infected premises will be conducted as outlined in the response plans.
USDA has notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of this detection as required by the OIE. USDA expects trading partners to respond to this reported detection according to OIE’s science-based standards. USDA said it is working with trading partners to minimize trade impacts on poultry and poultry products as much as possible.