Missouri is the latest state to report bird flu

news desk @bactiman63

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Stoddard County, Missouri.

Image/Robert Herriman

Samples from the herd were tested at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

APHIS is working closely with Missouri State animal health officials on a joint incident response. State officials have quarantined affected premises and birds on properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. The birds in the flock will not enter the food system.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

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Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza A virus that can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl) and is carried by free-flying waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or “H” proteins, 16 in number (H1-H16), and neuraminidase or “N” proteins, 9 in number ( N1-N9). Many different combinations of “H” and “N” proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype and can be broken down into different strains that circulate in flyways/geographical regions. AI viruses are further classified according to their pathogenicity (low or high) – the ability of a particular virus strain to cause disease in domestic poultry.