HPAI likely to remain a threat

A state veterinarian says several factors have contributed to the lengthy battle against highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Dr. Nora Wineland, with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, says the virus has become endemic in non-migrating birds.

“Prior to this summer and the fact that the virus didn’t disappear, I would have told you that generally, we don’t see as many cases in the summer, but this virus has hung around,” she says.

The USDA is working with its state partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and migratory wild bird populations.

She tells Brownfield, “One or more birds being sick, and deaths are the kinds of signs that we look for when we get a sick bird call.”

Wineland says producers need to continue strict biosecurity practices, and so far, creating separation between domestic and wild birds has been the best preventative measure.

HPAI has been confirmed in 42 states and losses topped more than 47 million birds since early February.  More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died in the 2014-2015 avian influenza epidemic. 

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