Feds Take Major Action After Dangerous Strain of Bird Flu Found in Backyard Flock
After recently being discovered in Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia, bird flu has turned up on Long Island.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed in a statement Saturday that highly pathogenic avian flu was found in a non-commercial backyard flock in Suffolk County, New York.
The department did not specify what types of birds were infected, only that they were not poultry.
Samples were tested at the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center and then confirmed by APHIS laboratories in Ames, Iowa, the USDA said.
New York state officials quarantined the affected premises.
As part of the federal and state response plan, the infected birds will be killed to prevent the spread of the disease.
Birds from the flock will not enter the food system, according to the statement. Federal and state officials will oversee testing and surveillance in surrounding areas.
Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the USDA said the bird flu cases “do not present an immediate public health concern.”
Human infections with bird flu are rare and usually only come after extensive exposure to infected or dead birds, according to the CDC.
There are multiple strains of bird flu, WNBC-TV reported. The strain that infected the Long Island birds was not identified.
Federal officials said recently that the Eurasian H5 strain had been found in the U.S.
Bird flu was discovered in commercial flocks of birds in Indiana and Kentucky and in a backyard flock in Virginia. No human cases have been detected.
The Indiana infection involves four commercial flocks, according to ABC News. The cases there occurred in Greene and Dubois counties.
USA Today reported that more than 300,000 birds have been affected.
“The risk is too high of spread to wait until the laboratory confirmation comes in, especially with the presumptive positive and clinical signs in the birds already,” said Denise Derrer Spears, spokeswoman for the Indiana Board of Animal Health. “So the owners are taking action to prevent further spread.”
In Georgia, officials are on high alert for bird flu, WMAZ-TV reported.
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