Highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Missouri commercial poultry flock

Chickens or poultry in a farm yard

Federal officials have confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial chicken flock in Stoddard County, Missouri. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic influenza (HPAI) in the commercial broiler chicken flock.

Samples were delivered to the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Missouri for testing after a sudden increase in mortality in the flock. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Des Moines, Iowa, confirmed the positive results.

HPAI is known to be deadly for domesticated poultry. Missouri Department of Agriculture veterinary officials have quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property will not enter the food system.

“The Missouri Department of Agriculture is working closely with federal animal health officials to contain and eliminate the disease,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “Protecting the health and welfare of livestock and poultry is a top priority. We encourage both commercial and backyard poultry producers to tighten their biosecurity protocols to help stop the spread of the virus.”

Poultry producers should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or an unusual increase in death loss to a local veterinarian or the state veterinarian’s office at the Missouri Department of Agriculture at (573) 751-3377.

MDA Animal Health Division employees are working with federal partners on additional surveillance and testing in the areas around the affected flock.

“Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk,” Director Chinn continued. “Poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

Situation updates of ongoing avian influenza activities in Missouri, as well as important biosecurity and virus-related information, will be posted online at this link.

(Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Agriculture)

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