The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5N8 avian influenza in guinea fowl and chickens from a small backyard poultry flock in Winston, Oregon. The flock of approximately 100 birds has access to the outdoors. A pond and a marsh on the premises are frequented by migratory birds.

The H5N8 virus has NOT been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States. There is no immediate public health concern, as the H5N8 virus has been found in birds in other parts of the world and has not caused any human infection to date.

The finding in Oregon was quickly reported and identified due to increased awareness of avian influenza in light of the HPAI H5 findings in wild birds in Washington State last week. This H5N8 virus is the same virus that was found in the Washington State gyrfalcons.

Oregon State officials and USDA are working jointly to respond to this detection, following existing HPAI response plans. The State of Oregon quarantined the affected premises, and APHIS will assist the State in depopulating the remaining birds to prevent the spread of the disease. Additional surveillance of poultry around the infected premises will be conducted as outlined in the response plans.

USDA notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of this detection as required by the OIE. USDA expects trading partners to respond to this reported detection according to OIE’s science-based standards. USDA is working with trading partners to minimize trade impacts on poultry and poultry products as much as possible.

South Korea, which is battling an ongoing avian influenza epidemic, has already announced that it is banning U.S. poultry imports.

“This import suspension is a quarantine measure to prevent the HPAI virus from entering the country,” said the South Korean Agricultural Minister, reports the Voice Chronicle. According to the South Korean media, the country imported over 62,000 tons of chicken this year from U.S., compared to the total 2013 figures of 44,000 tons. This makes South Korea the fifth largest growing importer of the U.S. goods.

Source: APHIS, Voice Chronicle