Avian Influenza

Why are we talking about avian influenza in a swine newsletter? It is important to know the effect that avian influenza may have on other species.

Recently in December 2014 and early January 2015, “USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (migratory bird paths). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 to be low.” Currently, no human cases of these HPAI H5 have been reported. Additionally, avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat.

Currently, no reports of HPAI in Ohio; however, May 2015 the first case of HPAI H5N8 was reported in a hobby flock in Indiana that contained 77 birds of various species, including ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys. In a rapid response effort, all of the birds were removed to ensure no ongoing risk of disease spread.

The USDA is heavily involved in the decrease in spread of this avian influenza. So, what is the risk to the swine industry? It appears that the H5 strains are very well adapted to the avian species at this time and pigs show little affect from these strains. However, pigs can become infected with the H5 strains and even if low clinical signs, can this cause assortment. Therefore, biosecurity is a major key to clean up and minimizing spread and should not be taken for granted. The main influenza viruses circulating in US pig populations in recent years are H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2.

For the most up to date information visit: http://www.usda.gov