High-path H5N8 avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock

USDA reports no immediate public health concern; detected strain is not known to harm humans.

On Jan. 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 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 commercial poultry during the ongoing disease incident in the Pacific Flyway. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the U.S., Canada or internationally, and there continues to be no public health concern.

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 & 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, APHIS said. These plans also will include preventing the movement of risky animals or products out of the immediate area to prevent further disease spread.

USDA pointed out that the U.S. has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world, and the agency is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

USDA said it will be notifying the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of this detection as part of USDA's ongoing reporting of all HPAI findings.

For more information about the ongoing avian influenza disease incident in the Pacific Flyway visit the APHIS website. More information about avian influenza can be found on the USDA avian influenza page.

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