The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has 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 United States, 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 and 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. These plans also will include preventing the movement of risky animals or products out of the immediate area to prevent further disease spread. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA 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 will be notifying the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of this detection as part of USDA’s ongoing reporting of all HPAI findings. 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.
These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found athealthybirds.aphis.usda.gov