High-path avian flu hits poultry in 5 more states

Roosters and chickens
Roosters and chickens

svklimkin / Flickr cc

Federal officials today announced that avian flu has struck flocks in five more states—Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wyoming—expanding outbreak activity westward and to nearly half of US states.

Four of the outbreaks involved backyard flocks, while North Carolina's outbreak involved commercial poultry. In a related development, Iowa reported two more outbreaks at commercial farms, including a large layer farm.

East, west expansion

The announcement from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today lifts the number of affected states to 23. Events have include both backyard flocks and commercial operations, mainly in the Midwest and East.

In North Carolina, where the virus had already been found in waterfowl surveillance, an outbreak struck a commercial farm in Johnston County, about 40 miles southeast of Raleigh.

Meanwhile, in the four states reporting their first outbreaks in backyard flocks, Massachusetts' detection occurred in Berkshire County, in the far west of the state. Ohio's outbreak occurred in backyard chickens in Franklin County, the home of Columbus.

Signaling a further westward push into poultry, North Dakota reported the virus in backyard chickens in Kidder County, located in the central part of the state. And in Wyoming, the outbreak involved a mixed-species flock in Johnson County, in the north central part of the state, about 70 miles southeast of Sheridan.

Earlier this month, Canadian officials reported an H5N1 detection in a bald eagle found dead near Vancouver, thought to be the first high-path detection this year in the Pacific Flyway.

More farms in Iowa affected

In related developments, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) yesterday reported two more commercial outbreaks, raising the state's total to nine.

One struck a large layer farm that houses 1,460,030 birds in Guthrie County, located in the west central part of the state. The other occurred at a commercial turkey farm in Hamilton County, in central Iowa just north of Ames, that has 28,000 birds.

The US outbreaks involve the Eurasian H5N1 strain, which is fueling outbreaks in other world regions. So far, outbreaks in the United States this year have led to the loss of roughly 16 million birds.

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