HPAI Updates

USDA Confirms Second Case of HPAI in TN

Yesterday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a second case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a commercial flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This is the same North American wild bird origin H7N9 strain that was previously confirmed in TN. It is NOT the same H7N9 that infected humans in Asia.  The full announcement has been included at the bottom of this email.  As you may be aware,  Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) has also been detected in Tennessee (https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/news/49066) .  While the epidemiology  for both the low and high path strains found is ongoing, they are believed to be closely related. Facilities in the affected area should monitor information provided on their State Animal Health Official’s Websites.   If you would like to stay up to date on surveillance efforts there are a number of reports available here,  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/defend-the-flock/defend-the-flock-ai-wild-birds , including Monthly Summary Data from the National Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance Program.  Looking abroad, the current HPAI outbreak in Europe sadly affected a zoo last week.  Despite being kept in a tent since December as a preventative measure, one of the pelicans at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria became acutely ill and was euthanized early last week.  Subsequent testing confirmed the presence of HPAI H5N8  in the rest of the flock, and they were culled in order to protect the zoos remaining bird stock (http://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/vienna-zoo-puts-20-pelicans-to-sleep-after-bird-flu-virus-found). A number of you have already contacted the ZAHP Fusion Center with questions and concerns as you work on updating plains for avian influenza, and we encourage you to continue to reach out with your questions.  One commonly requested item is plan examples,  and we do have a handful of de-identified institutional plans that can be provided as an additional resource upon request.  Please send any questions or request to azielinski@aza.org.    USDA Confirms Second Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee.  It is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case. Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response.  State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun.  Federal and State partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.   The United States has […]

USDA Confirms HPAI in Lincoln County, Tennessee

On March 5th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee, within the Mississippi flyway.  Please see the full announcement from the USDA, included at the end of this post.   We are able to provide you with additional information on this event via staff participation in a USDA industry update, and cooperation from Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta, who is participating in regional calls as a subject matter expert  on the zoological community for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Updates on this event are as follows:  A large Surveillance Zone has been established with a 10-mile radius; this was extended from the standard 10 kilometer radius at the producer’s request.  So far, all samples from other barns on the index premises are negative for HPAI, as are samples from other sites in the surveillance area.   Initial sequencing indicates that this H7 is North American, wild bird origin.  At this time, the risk to human safety appears to be low.  Low path H7 strains have been detected in routine wild bird surveillance this year with no associated outbreaks in poultry.  This is the first HPAI H7 detected in poultry this year.  USDA continues to collect samples and will adjust surveillance strategies as more is known about this virus, or if any other premises become infected. Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta is participating in regional phone calls as warranted, and will provide any pertinent information for dissemination to this group.  Update:  USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have identified the virus as North American wild bird lineage H7N9.  This is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  See the press release for additional information.  There has also been a detection of Low Pathogenic AI, H5N2 in a turkey flock in Wisconsin.  This is also a North American origin virus and there has not been any morbidity or mortality in connection with the virus in these birds thus far, therefore not meeting any criteria for a case definition of HPAI.  USDA and Wisconsin continue to monitor this situation, and ZAHP will provide addition al updates on this detection as warranted. Depending on location, exhibitors may be contacted about participating in surveillance.  Expect that recommendations will include strong messages about prevention of contact between backyard poultry and wild birds ( this includes domestic poultry in outdoor exhibits).   Facilities looking to evaluate their preparedness for an Avian Influenza outbreak may want to review the HPAI Checklist developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to receive updates directly to your inbox.  USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee Last Modified: Mar 6, 2017 Print Contacts: Donna Karlsons, 301-851-4107 Donna.L.Karlsons@aphis.usda.gov Lyndsay Cole, 970-494-7410 Lyndsay.M.Cole@aphis.usda.gov March 5, 2017, Washington – The United States Department of […]

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  

USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H7N8 in a Commercial Turkey Flock in Dubois County, Indiana

UPDATE : On January 10th, 2016, a commercial turkey facility in Southern Indiana observed reduced water and feed consumption in the flock.  Over the course of the next 2 days the flock experienced increasing mortality rates, greatly over baseline.  Samples were taken and on January 15th, the diagnosis of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N8 (HPAI H7N8) was confirmed.  Genetic analysis revealed that this subtype was of North American origin and subsequent surveillance in the control zone demonstrated the presence of a low pathogenicity avian influenza H7N8 (LPAI H7N8) of North American origin circulating in related poultry flocks.  The HPAI H7N8 and LPAI H7N8 were largely confined within a single poultry production network and its dangerous contact premises.  It is likely that the LPAI H7N8 had been circulating within the affected poultry network undetected, and that it evolved into an HPAI form.  A closely related LPAI H7N8 was detected in a wild gadwall in Kentucky last year as part of the larger wild bird avian influenza surveillance effort.  It is possible that the LPAI H7N8 from wild waterfowl crossed into domestic poultry, most likely through a biosecurity breach. A rapid response was effected and all infected or dangerous contact premises were depopulated.  Carcasses were remediated largely by composting.  As of the date of this bulletin, there have been no further detections of either HPAI or LPAI H7N8 within or outside of the control zone in domestic poultry.    Original Post:  As you may be aware, earlier today the USDA confirmed a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H7N8 in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana.  The full announcement from the USDA is included below, along with a map of Indiana marking Dubois County.  If you have not done so already, we encourage you to look over our HPAI Checklist to review and enhance your bio-security and preparedness plans.  The ZAHP Fusion Center will share additional information as we learn more. Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sent this bulletin at 01/15/2016 11:05 AM EST USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7N8 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Turkey Flock in Dubois County, Indiana WASHINGTON, January 15, 2016 — The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana. This is a different strain of HPAI than the strains that caused the 2015 outbreak.  There are no known cases of H7N8 infections in humans.  As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI. Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University, which is a part of USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed by USDA this morning. APHIS is working closely with the Indiana State Board of […]

HPAI Surveillance Findings

As of December 4th 2015 the United States Department of Agriculture has sampled over 25,000 birds as part of their surveillance efforts.  Thus far only two samples have tested positive for HPAI, and then only at a molecular level with no virus isolated.  A report on the sampling that has occurred thus far can be found here:  July 2015 – June 2016 Wild Bird Positive Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Cases in the United States. We encourage anyone looking for more information on how surveillance is being carried out to look at the official Surveillance Plan for HPAI in Wild Waterfowl in the United States, which can be found here: Surveillance Plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Waterfowl in the United States.  A map of the areas being sampled is included below, with the darker areas indicating more intense surveillance.  As always, we remind you to begin conversations about outbreak response with your State Animal Health Officials before there is an actual outbreak to ensure the most positive outcome for your institution. With the holiday season now underway we ask that you keep a look out for news of HPAI in the U.S. and send us any contacts you would like added to our distribution list for email updates.    

July ZAHP Chat on HPAI

Thank you to everyone that was able to participate in the July 29th ZAHP Chat on HPAI.  As promised the digest of that call is included below for anyone that was unable to listen in live or would like to review what was discussed. If you have any lingering questions from this discussion please send them to azielinski@aza.org and we will do our best to get those answered.   Digest of July 29, 2015 HPAI Call    

HPAI Summer Update, Potential Impacts, and Health & Safety Precautions

With the arrival of the summer season the number detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have declined considerably, the last confirmed case in poultry was reported in mid-June.  While this is certainly welcome news,  State and Federal officials are taking the threat of a fall re-emergence very seriously.  Dr. John Clifford,  Deputy Veterinary Administrator with USDA APHIS, said “the risk of the disease reemerging in the fall or the spring is significant” and  pointed to the outbreak as “the largest animal health emergency in our country’s history”.  Just this past weekend Minnesota confirmed that a chickadee collected in early June had tested positive for HPAI. This is the first time during this event that the disease has been discovered in a songbird, the exact virus strain that had affected the bird could not be identified. While this is likely a ‘spill over’ event from and infected poultry facility, this highlights the fact that the full range of species affected by these viruses is unknown. Many of you may already be aware of the actions some states are taking to protect themselves from HPAI, announcing restrictions of varying magnitude on the movement of birds within or across their borders. These types of restrictions will likely become more prevalent if we see a reemergence of HPAI in the Fall.  If you have not done so already, we strongly encourage you to contact your State Veterinarian regarding your institution’s preparation for HPAI and capabilities in the event of an outbreak in or around your facility. Last week AZA staff participated in a two-day USDA workshop focusing on coordinated response protocols in the event of a worst-case scenario outbreak of (HPAI) this Fall.  USDA is currently preparing for a large-scale pandemic that could reach all sectors of the United States this September-October. Since the beginning of 2015, over 50 million chickens (egg-layers and broilers) and turkeys have been de-populated due to HPAI and the cost of the recent outbreak has cost the Federal Government alone over $600 million. The possible effects of a full-scale outbreak on the poultry and zoological collection community could be devastating. It is imperative that exhibitors, even those without birds, consider the impact a large-scale pandemic could have on their facilities including rising feed costs and possibly declining gate sales. While preparing collections for the possibility of an outbreak it is important to remember the responsibility we have for the health and safety of facility staff.  The “Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel” from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) is an excellent resource on protective measures,  and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC have a number of other resources available  to help animal care professionals prepare for a variety of biological threats.  In the case of HPAI it is also vital to consider obligations for respiratory health and protection, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to have a written respiratory protection program in any workplace where […]


Preliminary Epidemiology of the Current Outbreak

On June 15, the USDA released a report containing Epidemiologic and Other Analyses of HPAI-Affected Poultry Flocks. The report outlines current findings on how the current strains of HPAI have entered facilities,   an announcement from the APHIS stakeholder registry states ” After conducting investigations on over 80 commercial poultry farms, APHIS analysis indicates that there are likely several ways the virus could be transmitted, including lapses in biosecurity practices and environmental factors. APHIS cannot, however, associate HPAI transmission with one factor or group of factors in a statistically significant way at this time, and will continue to update this report regularly as more analyses are completed.” The number of new cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) detected in the poultry sector have begun to decline.  While this is great news, it is expected that the U.S. will see a resurgence this fall.  The Zoo and Aquarium All-Hazards Preparedness and Response (ZAHP) Fusion Center is working with the USDA at the highest levels to make sure the managed wildlife community is considered in any disease control decisions, and will notify our contacts as information becomes available.  In the meantime, we encourage you to look over this information and discuss the findings and potential impact with your facility. Please direct any questions to your state veterinarian. Note: The report linked to above was updated July 15, 2015 to include: “interpretation of data from 81 turkey flocks investigated for HPAI; preliminary results from a case-control study conducted in layer operations in Iowa and Nebraska; and, preliminary results of a study of wildlife near affected and unaffected premises.”  

Wildlife Mitigation Strategies

Recently the ZAHP Fusion Center, along with AZA and American Association of Zoo Veterinarians recently had a discussion with USDA Wildlife Services, Animal Care and Veterinary Services to discuss wildlife mitigation strategies.  Epidemiologists and scientists are still determining how the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is spreading so rapidly in poultry farms in the upper Midwest.  One thing is certain:  Dabbling ducks (mallards, etc.) are reservoirs for the virus.  In many instances, we cannot make our exhibits, especially ponds, ‘wildlife proof’. USDA Wildlife Services (WS) has shared with us some strategies, which may help to make our facilities less attractive to wildlife.  You are encouraged to contact your State Department of Natural Resources (or equivalent) and State USDA Wildlife Services program for specific assistance.   Their toll-free number is  (866) 4USDA-WS (866-487-3297), or you can link into your State’s WS program through the APHIS website. The USDA understands the issues facing zoos and aquariums in trying to protect their collections, while respecting wildlife.  It is likely that we may develop a webinar on this topic in the future, but in the interim we encourage you to look over the included documents outlining some non-lethal methods of addressing free-ranging wildlife. Resources:  Prevent Avian Influenza at Your Farm: Improve Your Biosecurity with Simple Wildlife Management Practices – USDA, APHIS Canada Geese: Living with our Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities – The Humane Society of the United States Nonlethal Management of Wildlife Damage Fact Sheet – USDA, Wildlife Services Goose Control Techniques – City of West Chester, Ohio Use of Overhead Wires to Deter Waterfowl from Sewage Treatment Ponds – USDA, Wildlife Services Excluding Non-migratory Canada Geese with Overhead Wire Grids – USDA, APHIS Comparison of 2 Vegetation-height Management Practices for Wildlife Control at Airports – USDA, Wildlife Services  


USDA Releases New Short Policy and Procedure Guides for HPAI

Earlier this week the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) released new short policy and procedure guides for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website.  While these documents were created with attention to the poultry industry they are an excellent resource for zoological institutions as well.  Links to the relevant pages are included below.  The ZAHP Fusion Center is currently working with the USDA and other federal partners to create a checklist specifically geared towards the managed wildlife community.   FAD Prep Materials and Resources:  HPAI Processing Indemnity Payments HPAI Movement Control HPAI Restocking & Environmental Sampling All HPAI Outbreak 2014-2015 short policy and procedure guides HPAI Red Book, SOPs, education & training materials   Other: USDA APHIS HPAI Updates USDA Avian Influenza Web Page