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State veterinarian encourages increased biosecurity for poultry owners

BISMARCK, N.D. — The confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Tennessee last week is the second finding in that state. The strain, H7N9, is of North American wild bird lineage.

North Dakota had two cases of HPAI H5N2 in Dickey and LaMoure counties in 2015, affecting well over 100,000 birds combined.

“As migration takes place this spring, we encourage producers to keep their birds away from wetland areas where waterfowl and other wild birds gather,” says Dr. Susan Keller, North Dakota’s State Veterinarian. “Some of our producers have taken the extra precaution of planting crops further away from their flocks when possible.”

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division offers assistance for surveillance of disease conditions such as avian influenza. Currently, approximately 60 samples per month are submitted to determine the avian influenza status of North Dakota. No infections have been detected.

Poultry owners should immediately report unusual death loss to their local veterinarian to decrease the impact HPAI may have on the region. Remember to restrict access to property, keep birds away from other birds and practice enhanced biosecurity.

Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to people from HPAI infections to be low despite the disease often being fatal for birds. No human infections with the viruses have been detected in the U.S. and birds from infected flocks do not enter the food system.

The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.  

More information about avian influenza is available at www.nd.gov/ndda/disease/avian-influenza and from the USDA-APHIS at www.aphis.usda.gov.

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