HPAI cases are on the rise in California as the virus spreads across the country

HPAI cases are on the rise in California as the virus spreads across the country

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) appears to be on the rise in California, with several cases confirmed in large commercial poultry operations last week. Several other states have also reported the virus in commercial operations as the virus continues to spread across the country. The total number of birds affected by the 2022–2023 US outbreak has now reached 69.5 million, according to figures from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Two California broiler operations—one with 239,900 birds and the other with 254,400 birds—are both located in Stanislaus County. A third broiler operation in Stanislaus County was listed on the USDA website on Friday, but the number of birds has not been reported. A commercial egg-laying operation of 270,000 birds in Sonoma County is also down.

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In Arkansas, a broiler operation of 109,000 birds in Johnson County and a turkey operation of 33,300 birds in Carroll County recently confirmed the virus.

Meanwhile, turkey operations of 40,800 birds in McPherson County, South Dakota; 56,200 birds in Hamlin, South Dakota; 113,800 birds in Barron County, Wisconsin; 64,200 birds in Todd County, Minnesota; and 26,700 birds in Otter Trail County, Minnesota, were depopulated after the virus was discovered.

Post Holdings reported on December 7 that approximately 10% of Post’s controlled supply of eggs was affected by avian flu. Michael Foods’ third-party contracting egg flocks in Iowa and Ohio recently tested positive for avian influenza, resulting in the reduction of 4.2 million layers, the company said.

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Canada also continues to see an increase in cases. In an update provided to Feedstuffs, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said 67 commercial poultry operations have been affected since September 2023. However, since the first outbreak of the virus in December 2021, the total estimated number of birds affected in Canada is 10.14 million.

Analysis of the outbreak in North America indicated that the spread was primarily from wild migratory waterfowl. The virus can spread through droplets or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, both of which contaminate dust and soil. Thus, owners of commercial and backyard flocks should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual bird deaths should be reported immediately to state or federal officials.

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