Right now, hundreds of veterinarians from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are working around the clock to help egg and turkey producers battle avian influenza that has affected 50 million of their birds over the last 6 months, APHIS administrator Kevin Shea said in a June 12 letter to stakeholders.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our employees and their admirable work alongside veterinarians from State Departments of Agriculture, producers, and thousands of contractors,” Shea said. “Together, they are leading the response so that these vital businesses, and all who depend on them, can get back to work as soon as possible.”
While the number of emerging cases has slowed, the Michigan departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced June 15 the state’s first confirmed cases of H5N2 in free-ranging Canada geese in Macomb County.
“While this is disappointing news that the H5N2 virus has been found in Michigan’s free-ranging bird population, it was not unexpected given avian influenza has been found in a number of our neighboring states and Ontario,” said MDARD director Jamie Clover Adams.
Clover Adams said MDARD will continue to work hand-in-hand with the state’s backyard and commercial poultry farmers to conduct surveillance testing and provide education along with Michigan State University’s Extension on implementing and stepping up on-farm biosecurity practices to protect the health of Michigan’s domestic poultry.
Arizona Department of Agriculture is also currently investigating the first potential case in the state. Thirteen quail and chickens and about 40 quail and partridge eggs were imported from a facility in Iowa shortly before birds in the facility became sick. Initial test results for those birds came back positive for the disease on June 8. The four properties where the birds and eggs were shipped are under quarantine.
The outbreak already exceeds the previous 1983 record by more than 30 million birds, and government and industry remain concerned about the disease’s potential to spread this fall.