A confirmed case of highly pathogenic bird flu has been confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in Stanislaus County, California. It is the first time that commercial birds have tested positive for the disease since an initial outbreak in Canada and the Pacific Northwest in late 2014.
Foster Farms issued a statement confirming the presence of bird flu in one of its flocks.
“Foster Farms maintains an ongoing early detection program for avian influenza as part of its stringent testing and biosecurity program,” the company said in a statement. “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.’”
According to the Capitol Press, the virus was confirmed in one turkey house with 9,000 birds.Although tests were negative for avian flu in other turkey houses on the farm, the other birds will be euthanized, according to the USDA. The World Organization for Animal Health reported that some 145,000 birds were on the farm. The number could not be immediately confirmed with the USDA or Foster Farms.
The most recent outbreak of bird flu initially affected 11 commercial poultry farms in British Columbia, Canada. Until now, its presence in the United States has been confined to backyard flocks of chickens, wild birds and captive falcons..