March 08, 2015

MDA implementing response to contain, eliminate virus following detection of avian influenza in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced today that it is implementing its plan for a coordinated response with the USDA, state health officials and industry partners following confirmation that turkeys at a grower facility in Asbury, near Carthage, had been infected with a strain of avian influenza.   Outbreaks of a strain of avian flu have occurred in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Idaho and are not considered to be a threat to public health or the food supply. Preliminary tests also came back positive for the virus at another facility in Fortuna in Moniteau County.

MDA is following its strict protocols to contain and eliminate the disease.  The facilities were immediately quarantined and the remaining turkeys in the involved flocks will be depopulated and will not enter the food system.  Following USDA protocols, surveillance and testing procedures are underway at properties near the affected facilities to ensure the virus has not spread. 

As a precaution, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is reaching out to monitor workers who may have been exposed to the virus.  MDA has also been working with the USDA, which is sending an incident management team to Missouri to assist MDA in its response.

While lethal to birds, the strain of virus detected is not known to have caused disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health.  

The specimens from Carthage were tested by the state animal health diagnostic lab in Springfield and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding.  MDA is awaiting confirmation on an additional specimen from Fortuna.