USDA has announced plans to provide an additional $502 million to combat highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the US.
This funding transfer, made available under the Animal Health Protection Act to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), will ensure that USDA can continue to stay on top of this outbreak and be ready to respond if detections increase, the agency said.
So far the agency’s strategy appears to be working. In May 2023, there were no commercial poultry detections, down from 18 in May 2022.
Still, USDA warned that “HPAI is “prevalent in many parts of the world and in wild bird populations and the threat remains high.”
Previously, USDA has invested more than $793 million in emergency funding to respond to this outbreak by implementing quarantine restrictions, depopulating affected flocks, disposing of depopulated birds, cleaning and eliminating the virus from affected premises, and conducting surveillance in surrounding areas.
Biosecurity is key
According to USDA, implementing strict biosecurity measures continues to be critical for both commercial and backyard poultry producers.
“We encourage bird owners to work to ensure domestic birds do not come into contact with wild birds, and keep poultry confined inside during this high-risk period of migratory bird activity,” USDA said.
“We also encourage bird owners to limit traffic on and off your farm and use personal protective equipment and disinfection when caring for birds to avoid introducing HPAI.”
For more biosecurity information, USDA urged producers to get acquainted with the APHIS Defend the Flock program. APHIS also has a variety of biosecurity resources available at the Defend the Flock Resource Center.