HPAI Updates, Surveillance, and Outbreaks Abroad

Update 2: January 12, 2017 Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses continue to be detected around the world.  On January 9, USDA announced the detection of an HPAI H5 in Montana in a mallard duck that was part of routine surveillance activities.   It is hoped that this detection will be isolated, as was the detection in the same duck species in Alaska in late 2016.  Sadly, an H5N8 has impacted a swannery in Dorset, England,  and a Russian zoo recently depopulated its entire bird collection* due to HPAI. In addition to the H5 viruses that are spreading throughout Asia and Europe, other strains are making the news.  A rare case of H7N2 infected a Manhattan animal shelter, and caused illness in one of the attending veterinarians.    Update 1:  December 13, 2016  The United States continues to conduct surveillance for HPAI in wild birds as outbreaks continue in Europe and Asia.  Please see the bulletin from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center,   for important information on current HPAI events, domestic surveillance for HPAI in wild birds, safety guidelines and precautions, and more.  We recommend reading this bulletin in its entirety “The purpose of this Bulletin is to review events that led to the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in North America in late 2014 and to provide an overview of HPAI mortality events and detections that are currently occurring in poultry and wild migratory birds of Europe and Asia”   Original Post:  Since we have moved into the migration season some of you have reached out to inquire about the status of highly pathogenic avian influenza.  Things have been quiet so far in the US, with the last positive sample having been collected from a wild mallard in Alaska this past August.  A table of positive surveillance results, updated weekly, can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/ai/uspositivecases17.pdf .  The ZAHP Fusion Center is also following the developments of current HPAI events in Europe and India.   As you may be aware,  in mid-October avian flu sub-type H5N8 (new to India) was discovered at a zoo in Gwailor, India after samples were taken from some of the 15 painted storks that died over the span of a few days.  The rest of the painted storks at the zoo were culled.  This month H5N8 has been discovered in wild birds in Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and Poland, as well as in Austria on Lake Constance near the borders of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  More information about the events in India and throughout Europe can be found at the following links:   http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/birds-in-gwalior-zoo-died-of-new-avian-flu-subtype-officials/313230.html http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161024/jsp/jharkhand/story_115177.jsp#.WCYSOYWcFYd  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2016/11/h5n8-spreads-wild-birds-germany-austria http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/news_031116b.html  

New World Screwworm

The United States Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that a case of New World Screwworm has been detected outside of a Control Zone that was established in the Florida Keys last year in response to the outbreak in the Key deer population.  The new case was found in Homestead, FL in a domestic dog. Screwworm is a concern as these fly maggots, unlike most maggots, will continue to feed on perfectly healthy tissue, severely debilitating the animal and usually leads to death if not treated.  Extensive efforts have been mounted by USDA to protect the endangered Key deer and other animals. The epidemiological report can be viewed here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2017/nws-epi-report.pdf. This fly will lay its eggs on multiple species (including rarely, man) so per the USDA press release sent out January 9th:   “Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. Florida residents should report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.  Visitors to the area should ensure any pets that are with them are also checked, in order to prevent the spread of this infestation.”  

Wildfire Preparedness

  Wildfire preparedness is top of mind after the deadly wildfire in Tennessee. While news out of Gatlinburg showed managed wildlife facilities fared very well, it is a somber reminder that planning for such events is essential.  Preserving human life is always the highest priority in an emergency situation and it is quite possible that your area will have a mandatory evacuation if threatened by wildfire.  However, there are steps you can take beforehand to mitigate risk to your animals and your facility.  Please see the below resources on wildfire preparedness for further information: The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) General wildfire preparedness http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness.aspx Defensible space http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/be-firewise/home-and-landscape/defensible-space.aspx Landscaping and plant lists http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/firewise-landscaping-and-plant-lists.aspx  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) How to Prepare for a Wildfire https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003859391-0e8ad1ed42c129f11fbc23d008d1ee85/how_to_prepare_wildfire_033014_508.pdf Ready.gov wildfire preparedness https://www.ready.gov/wildfires   Red Cross Wildfire preparation, response, and recovery, including active wildfire maps http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/wildfire#Recover  

Foreign Animal Disease Presentations and Preparedness Meetings

Foreign Animal Diseases: Health Emergencies and Continuity Crushers Presentations Foreign Animal Diseases (FADs) represent a threat to our mission of connecting the public to the natural world through our animals.  Whether an FAD directly causes disease in the collection, or if movement restrictions prevent breeding recommendations, our business continuity will be affected.  This session, presented at the AZA Annual Conference in San Diego, CA, brought several institutions together to discuss their experiences with preparedness for Foreign Animal Disease, including ‘lessons learned’ from the 2014-2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in the US. Individual presentations from this session can be viewed below: –   Size Doesn’t Matter! Even Small to Medium Sized Zoos can Build BIG Relationships that Lead to Comprehensive Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak Preparedness – Julie Barnes,  DVM, Director of Animal Health, Santa Barbara Zoo –   Updates on Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness for the Exotic Animal Industry – Yvonne Nadler, Program Manager, ZAHP Fusion Center – There’s something in the Wind: Great Plains Zoo’s Response to the 2014 – 2015 HPAI Outbreak – Lisa Smith, Senior Director of Animal Programs, Great Plains Zoo –  Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Testing Response Plans the Hard Way –  Bruce Rideout, Michael Mace, Donald Janssen, David Rimlinger, and Nadine Lamberski, San Diego Zoo Global   National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Meeting  Drs. Yvonne Nadler and Jimmy Tickel attended a break out session at the recent National Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting in Omaha, Nebraska where the ZAHP Fusion Center was asked to speak to attendees about the exotic animal industry and all-hazards preparedness.  The industry preparedness for highly pathogenic avian influenza was discussed, and Dr. Tickel continued the foreign animal disease discussion with updates on the Fusion Center’s Secure Zoo Strategy.  Secure Zoo is a platform for prevention for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).  In the next several months, some key updates will be made to the Secure Zoo website which will provide guidance, templates and self-assessment tools for FMD prevention. See the Secure Zoo website at www.securezoostrategy.org for more information. The agricultural officials were very engaged, and recognized that zoological institutions must be considered in their planning efforts!  Don’t be surprised if they reach out to YOU for more information about your collections and planning.   National Preparedness Roundtable  The ZAHP Fusion Center was privileged to attend the White House National Preparedness Roundtable, which was held September 28th.  This meeting shared some key results of the Federal Emergency Management Agency 2016 National Preparedness Report.  Great strides have been made in preparedness, but there is always work to do to make our Country more resilient. The roundtable was a chance to network and provide feedback on the report.  View the report at: https://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness-report    

Hurricane Matthew

UPDATE 3: November 15, 2016  It has been one month since Hurricane Matthew, and while recovery will continue for some time in many of the affected regions, we would like to share some positive stories about facilities in our industry that have come out of this disaster. St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/10/07/stork-finds-refuge-from-hurricane-matthew-in-zoo-bathroom.html Waccatee Zoo:  http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article106294547.html Jacksonville Zoo:       http://www.wokv.com/news/news/local/jfrd-helps-jacksonville-zoo-board-hurricane-matthe/nsmLF/ UPDATE 2: October 17, 2016 In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the ZAHP Fusion center participated in nightly situational update calls on animal issues, and was able to assist in coordination of resources and information sharing down to local emergency management systems and response partners for action.  Locals have done a great job in managing animal issues! To the facilities who stepped up to help their neighboring facilities in need, well done!  We recognize the wonderful work that continues to be done by individual facilities, local emergency management and volunteers who assisted during and after Matthew.   UPDATE 1: October 7, 2016  As Hurricane Matthew continues to make its way up the east coast, please remember the importance of documentation in your recovery efforts.  Insurance companies will need documentation of all of your losses, time spent on response by your employees, and any services rendered.  If your institution is eligible for FEMA reimbursement this information will be vital in preparing your request. We have included downloadable to do lists and tracking documents below for anyone that may not have a template available. These documents are  provided courtesy of Lynn Cox at Detroit Zoological Society . Flood – To Do Lists Vendor list Time Sheet – for Salary EES If your institution has concerns about data back-up and recovery, there are a couple of firms offering free services for businesses that may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew.  More information about these services can be found here: http://talkincloud.com/cloud-computing-slas/backup-and-disaster-recovery-firms-offer-free-services-wake-hurricane-matthew .   ORIGINAL POST: October 5, 2016: As you are aware, Hurricane Matthew is quickly approaching the East Coast causing the Governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to declare states of emergency. Most of you located in areas of potential impact already have hurricane plans in place, but we have included a couple of additional resources that may be of assistance below. We are closely monitoring this event, and welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or feel we may otherwise be of assistance to you at this time. Please remember incidents begin and end locally. While we share general information, look to your local emergency management agency for specific information about your area. The FEMA mobile app provides resources, weather alerts, important maps and safety tips This FEMA press release includes additional tips and information in preparation for Hurricane Matthew Google Crisis Maps show public alerts, evacuation resources, and shelters.

USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H5N2 Avian Influenza in a Wild Mallard Duck in Alaska

As you may be aware,  last Friday USDA confirmed a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N2 in a wild Mallard duck in Alaska.  The full announcement from the USDA can be found here.  It’s not terribly surprising that this virus has been found; previous information coming out of USDA indicated that they believed the virus was likely circulating at extremely low levels in the reservoir population.  This detection is a very good reminder that migration will soon begin, increasing the likelihood of disease transmission. The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Checklist prepared by the ZAHP Fusion Center during last year’s outbreak is available for any facilities that wish to use it to review and enhance their biosecurity and preparedness plans.  If you are attending AZA’s annual conference, the ZAHP Fusion Center will be presenting “Foreign Animal Diseases: Health Emergencies and Continuity Crushers”, a session that will highlight some facilities responses to last year’s HPAI outbreak, on Saturday September 10th   from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM.  Information from this session will be made available as soon as possible via our website for anyone who could not attend.

Flooding Preparedness

This summer we have seen major flooding in various parts of the country,  with the deadly floods that recently occurred in the suburbs of Baton Rouge,  Louisiana  being cited as the worst natural disaster occurring in the US since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  It is critical that managed wildlife facilities plan for flooding events before they occur, and we have included a number of resources below that may be used to enhance preparedness at your facility. Flooding Resources “How to Prepare for a Flood” – FEMA Ready.gov – Floods Google Crisis Maps Floodsmart.gov – National Flood Insurance Program: Understanding Flood Maps Flooding Tabletop Exercise – prepared by the ZAHP Fusion Center for the 2016 AZA Safety Summit,  this walks participants through a flooding scenario to assess their facilities response. Flooding Exercise PowerPoint 2016 Flooding Exercise Situation Manual 2016 Flooding Exercise Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) 2016 Questions for 2016 Flooding Exercise Powerpoint Presentation 2016 To do lists and tracking documents to assist during an event  – provided courtesy of Lynn Cox, Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator for the Detroit Zoological Society Flood – To Do Lists Vendor list Time Sheet – for Salary EES The South Carolina Story: Life in the Low Country – provided courtesy of Kevin Mills, President/CEO of South Carolina Aquarium  


Pokémon Go, Low Path Avian Influenza, and Seneca Valley Virus

Pokémon Go Safety By now most of you have heard of the new game, Pokémon Go, where players explore the real world to catch virtual pocket monsters. Many zoos are enjoying new visitors coming through their gates to play the game with a number of facilities launching programs geared towards players, but the game is not without safety risks. Since the game launched earlier this month there have been numerous reports of players getting injured, getting into accidents, trespassing, or becoming victims of crime while playing the game. A number of police departments have released safety tips for players, and we encourage you to see what has been released for your community. To ensure the safety of your visitors, staff, and animals, you may want to consider creating guidelines for players accessing your facility. If you are looking for an example, this guide from Six Flags Great America includes tips for both safety and gameplay, thus improving safety while also welcoming new visitors. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to check the location of “pokéstops” and “gyms” in or around your facility; If you find one of these locations to be inappropriate or pose a safety risk to visitors, staff, or animals you may request its removal. Low Pathogenic H5 in US A recent post sent out from the ProMED website (included below) described the detection of LOW pathogenic H5 viruses found in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey during routine surveillance of ‘live-bird’ markets in those states. This is just a reminder that influenza viruses are constantly circulating through avian populations, and they have potential to recombine or mutate into more virulent strains.  Find a checklist on HPAI preparedness here. Date: Wed 13 Jul 2016 Source: The Poultry Site [edited] http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/37301/lowpath-avian-flu-reported-in-three-us-states/ Low-Pathogenic Avian Flu Reported in 3 US States ———————————————— Low-pathogenic H5 avian influenza has been found in live-bird markets in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. According to CIDRAP, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, the outbreaks were 1st reported in foreign media due to bilateral agreements to report such disease between the US and some trading partners. CIDRAP said the outbreaks were later confirmed by Joelle Hayden, a public affairs specialist with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who said finding low pathogenic avian influenza isn’t uncommon in backyard flocks and live-bird markets. Live bird markets mix birds from different areas, offering the opportunity for the bird flu virus to adapt and spread. Seneca Valley Virus Recently the swine industry has had an uptick in the number of confirmed cases of Seneca Valley Virus (SVV). The clinical signs of the disease, such as blistering around the snout and coronary band lesions look like SEVERAL very serious diseases such as Foot and Mouth disease. This is a reminder to check in to your State Animal Health official’s web page often. In addition to mentioning diseases of concern for your particular area, the […]

Preparing your Facility for the Threat of Zika Virus

UPDATE:   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an update on Zika Virus to address cases of Zika being transmitted by mosquitoes in Florida. The new information can be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.   Original Post:  With the official start of summer just around the corner, we have received inquiries about how zoos and aquariums can protect their visitors, staff, and animals from the threat of Zika virus.  Please look over the following resources for information on Zika and strategies that could prevent the virus from arriving at  your facility: –  Occupational Safety and Help Administration (OSHA) Interim Guidance for protecting works from occupational exposure to Zika virus – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) Zika Virus Prevention page Zika and Pregnancy Zika and Animals Media Questions and Answers:  Zika Virus and Nonhuman Primates (NHPs)  Technical Questions and Answers for Veterinarians and Animal Care Professionals –  World Health Organization Dengue control strategies –  American Mosquito Control Association   The above CDC document,  Technical Answers for Veterinarians and Animal Care Professionals, states “if Zika virus is found in humans in areas that have outdoor NHP housing, the animals could be infected with the virus. Facilities with outdoor housing should work with the state and local authorities to develop a mosquito surveillance and management program at the facility to prevent the spread of Zika Virus.”  Regardless of whether or not your facility houses nonhuman primates, we recommend you connect with your state and local public health and agricultural or animal health officials as soon as possible in order to establish an understanding  before Zika arrives in your community.  Zoo Atlanta met with their local officials to assess the threat of Zika at the facility, and was able to create a Safety and Security Bulletin containing outdoor and water safety tips. A list of current State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) can be found here, and the CDC has risk-based preparedness and response guidelines for states available on their website.  


2016 Safety Summit – Omaha, NE

Held as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mid-year Meeting, the ZAHP Fusion Center worked with the AZA Safety Committee to present on two topics at this year’s Safety Summit: active shooter scenarios, and flooding events. A flooding event can completely devastate a zoo or aquarium, with the potential for loss of life of visitors, staff, and/or animals, loss of revenue, and millions in damages. With hurricane season on the horizon, there is no time like the present to take measures to ensure your facility is prepared for a flood. At this year’s Safety Summit participants were able to hear from colleagues who had dealt with severe flooding events at their facilities, each illustrating the varying circumstances that led to their flooding events as well as the unique challenges that arose in their response efforts. Later presentations focused on long-term response and recovery with additional focus on financial considerations. Presentations were followed by a tabletop exercise where participants were walked through a flooding scenario to assess how their facility would respond. The Safety Summit also hosted presentations on active shooter events. These presentations included the introduction of basic concepts that could help a wildlife facility prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident, as well as testimonials from two contrasting institutions on how they prepare their facilities such situations. Concepts introduced included “ run, hide, fight” , the Department of Homeland Security’s guideline on how an individual should respond in an active shooter situation, and “Stop the Bleed” , a national campaign started to empower citizens to take action to prevent deaths from blood loss. A list of suggestions for first aid supplies that can be used to aid victims suffering from significant blood loss was also provided. Select resources from the Safety Summit, as well as a copy of the flooding tabletop exercise are included below. Flooding Resources: Flooding Tabletop Exercise AZA Flooding Exercise PowerPoint 2016 Flooding Exercise Situation Manual 2016 Flooding Exercise Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) Questions 2016 AZA Powerpoint Presentation How to Prepare for a Flood – FEMA Flood – To Do Lists, Vendor list, and Time Sheet – for Salary Employees ( Courtesy of Lynn Cox, Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator for the Detroit Zoological Society) The South Carolina Story: Life in the Low Country (Courtesy of Kevin Mills, President/CEO of South Carolina Aquarium) Active Shooter Resources: Run, Hide, Fight Run, Hide, Fight Video Department of Homeland Security Pocket Card  Stop the Bleed Responding to an Active Shooter PowerPoint