Turkey Farm Quarantined : Avian Flu Virus Detected in Californian Turkey Flock

Turkey Farm Quarantined : Avian Flu Virus Detected in Californian Turkey Flock

A California turkey farm has been quarantined after confirmation of the first case of an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza strain in the Pacific Northwest and in a commercial flock, the U.S. government said.

Foster Farms says it maintains an ongoing early detection programme for avian influenza as part of its stringent testing and biosecurity programme.

As part of this surveillance, Foster Farms determined the presence of avian influenza in a single, rural turkey ranch in Stanislaus County.

The company informed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to USDA policy, the ranch was quarantined and will be humanely depopulated by the USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent introduction to migratory and commercial flocks. No poultry products in the marketplace are impacted.

While the disease presents a risk to avian species, the USDA said: “There is no public health concern.”

Since late 2014, ongoing avian influenza incidents have been detected in wild waterfowl and backyard poultry operations along the Pacific Flyway.
As a result, Foster Farms says it increased biosecurity measures at all West Coast facilities and is actively partnering with state and national agricultural and veterinary leaders to prevent potential avian exposure.

To protect further the health of its poultry and ensure the safety of its products, Foster Farms has long employed strict and industry leading biosecurity practices including isolation of poultry farms, traffic control and sanitation. The company has maintained a continuous testing programme for avian influenza since 2000.

The official report sent by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) states that the affected flock of commercial turkeys has 145,000 birds but that only one house of 9,000 birds suffered increased mortality; around 4,500 died and 1,200 have been destroyed.