Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detections Increase in June

Brian GermanPoultry

The number of birds affected by the ongoing outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) saw an uptick in June, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Numbers reported by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) show that nearly 2.2 million birds have been affected by the virus in June. The latest spike in detections was largely due to infections on two large farms in Colorado, after numbers dropped significantly in May with less than 800,000 birds being affected for the month. Detections peaked in March with nearly 21 million birds culled in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.  

Avian Influenza

As of June 27, APHIS has confirmed that birds tested and confirmed as having HPAI has impacted 377 flocks across the United States. A total of 186 commercial flocks and 191 backyard flocks have impacted birds in 36 states. Iowa has been the hardest hit state with more than 13 million birds affected, but no further infections have been reported since May 4. The most recent detection was found in Washington on June 24, affecting 50 birds in a backyard flock.

Altogether, 40.09 million birds have been affected by HPAI since January. While infection numbers have improved since March and April, there is still a concern as to how wild bird migration will impact the situation later in the year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 states have detected the virus in wild birds as of June 24. A total of 1,635 wild birds have been infected with HPAI.

USDA remains active in addressing infection numbers. Back in April, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved nearly $263 million to be transferred to APHIS from the Commodity Credit Corporation to support response efforts. Secretary Vilsack had also approved the use of approximately $130 million in emergency funding for APHIS a month prior. Funding has been used to support a variety of emergency response costs, including coordinating with state and local officials to implement mitigation efforts.

“Highly pathogenic avian influenza is a serious concern for our nation’s poultry industry, and we need to continue our nationwide response to minimize the impact,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a news release. “The Agency’s actions during this ongoing emergency serve to safeguard U.S. poultry and egg producers and reduce the effects of avian influenza on agriculture and trade, while also enhancing readiness for other animal health emergencies.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West