Avian Influenza a Year-Round Threat

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Ag News, Indiana Agriculture News, National Agricultural News, News Feed

Egg prices are up right around 49% from a year ago. 47 states having been hit in the past year by highly pathogenic avian influenza is a big reason why.

“52 million birds have been destroyed. 40 million of those have been layers, and so I know folks are seeing the impact of egg prices at the retailer and part of that is avian influenza,” says Dr. Bret Marsh, Indiana’s State Veterinarian.

Here in Indiana, the total number of birds affected is right around 228,000. Most of those were commercial turkeys while just under 18,000 of them were commercial ducks.

Dr. Bret Marsh, Indiana State Veterinarian

“We’ve had 16 cases in our states in the last year, and others have been affected more heavily in other states. So, I’m really proud of the work that’s gone on to this point.”

He’s proud of the efforts of his staff at the Indiana Board of Animal Health and producers around the state who have been on high alert for anything out of the ordinary with their flocks, including high mortality.

Marsh adds that producers will need to remain alert as they’ve learned this will be around 12 months of the year. There used to be some seasonality, but that’s no longer the case.

“We found last summer, for example, that it over-summered with us with Canada geese and mallard ducks that are asymptomatic, but they’re carrying that virus. And so, we have to be diligent to make sure that we’re doing all we can from a biosecurity standpoint, whether you have a small flock in the backyard or large commercial interests, we’re emphasizing biosecurity on all sites.”

Speaking with Marsh at Indiana Pork’s Taste of Elegance event last week, he was sure to touch on African Swine Fever as well. He says we’ve done well so far, but the risk of ASF entering the US is still there.

“African Swine Fever has been diagnosed in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic, first time in 40 years in the Western Hemisphere. So, we have to be diligent with the swine industry as well. So, our team at the Board of Animal Health and those in the pork industry have been great to work with to continue to do all we can to keep that disease out of the country.”

More information regarding avian influenza or African Swine Fever can be found on the BOAH website.

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