A highly pathogenic form of avian influenza has been found in a commercial turkey flock in Stanislaus County, California. Two influenza viruses had previously been found in migratory birds and non-commercial poultry in a handful of locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California (the Pacific Flyway). The USDA stressed that no human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally, and there is no public health concern.

The infected flock will be culled and will not enter the food stream. The USDA, other agencies and industry partners are actively looking for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations. Backyard poultry keepers are also advised to remain vigilant and monitor their birds.

The USDA has issued the following information:

“People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov

The outbreak has led to quarantines and some restrictions on U.S. poultry exports to other nations, including China.