Potential Bird Flu Case in Yavapai County

12 June 2015  
Arizona Department of Agriculture says that specific properties in Pinal, Mohave, Santa Cruz and Yavapai Counties are under quarantine.
The Department of Agriculture is investigating the first potential cases of Avian Influenza (AI) in the state. 
Although it is often assumed that AI only affects turkeys and chickens, a wide variety of birds can be infected. In this case, thirteen quail and chickens and about 40 quail and partridge eggs were imported from a facility in Iowa.  Shortly after the Arizona shipment, birds at the originating facility became sick, and the initial test results for those birds came back positive for H5 Avian Influenza on Monday. This same facility shipped birds and eggs to almost 75% of the country in the weeks before the initlal cases were detected. 
The four properties in Pinal, Mohave, Santa Cruz and Yavapai Counties that received the birds and eggs are under quarantine. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), "The birds will be tested, but the results could take up to 6 days depending on the workload at the laboratory."

Currently, none of the birds and eggs have tested positive for the virus; the quarantine is being taken as a precaution until the results are returned from the lab.

The US Department of Agriculture website explains,

The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirming that the poultry farm is AI virus-free.  USDA also is working with its partners to actively look and test for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

“Bird enthusiasts and breeders who are shopping on the internet need to take care when ordering,” said Dr. Perry Durham, State Veterinarian.  “These birds and eggs came from a state where Avian Influenza is rampant, responsible for the loss of millions of turkeys and hens.  If you are importing birds or eggs into the state, check the list of states (attached) with Avian Influenza and do not bring birds or eggs from them to protect your flock and others.” 

The ADA warns, "Anyone importing birds into Arizona from anywhere must have an original certificate of health for the birds and ensure they come from a non-controlled area."

"Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, quail, geese and many wild birds," states the ADA press release. "Direct contact with infected birds, contaminated objects/equipment, and droplets in the air (short distances) can spread the virus."

What to do?

The ADA urges all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, to continue to practice good biosecurity, preventing contact between their birds and wild birds.  The Department has resources on its website to help.

All Arizona bird owners can do their part to protect local poultry by immediately reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the Arizona State Veterinarian’s Office at (602) 542-4293 or the USDA sick bird hotline at 1-866-536-7593.

 Anyone finding sick or dead poultry or wildlife should avoid contact. "Wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds," instructs the ADA.
"Although HPAI is a deadly disease of domestic poultry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk for infection of people to be low. To date, this strain has not caused any human illness. It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry products, including meat and eggs," concludes the ADA press release.
For questions about human health and Avian Influenza, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services web site. 













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Lynne LaMaster