Avian Influenza Warning
The World Health Organization says Russian authorities report they have detected what is believed to be "human infection with avian influenza H5N8." Reports say
Russia notified WHO of the possible strain. "If confirmed, this would be the first time H5N8 has infected a human.
Separately, The USDA is reminding poultry operators, both commercial and backyard growers, to take proper biosecurity measures to protect their flocks from disease.
Julie Gauthier of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says recent cases in birds, not humans, have been confirmed in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and some worry that the virus could come into the US through migratory birds.
She says biosecurity measures on commercial and backyard poultry operations are essential in preventing viruses and disease from impacting flocks.
Gauthier: “The more you learn about fairly simple biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction of disease to your flock, the less likely you will be affected by this or that you will be part of the spreading of this disease to other flocks. We had the largest emergency to animal health ever in the United States in 2014 starting in December through June 2015. That was a very bad year for poultry and poultry producers in the country. There were more than 200 commercial and backyard flocks that were affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza. Over 50 million birds died in that outbreak.”
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently hosted an online webinar for poultry growers to explain why and how to protect poultry coops and larger operations. More information can be found at WWW.APHIS.USDA.GOV.