The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
Samples from the flock were tested at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials in New Mexico on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.
A “non-poultry” backyard flock refers to birds that do not meet the World Organisation for Animal Health definition of poultry. Birds that are kept in a single household, the products of which are used within the same household exclusively, are not considered poultry, provided that they have no direct or indirect contact with poultry or poultry facilities.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health risk associated with these avian influenza detections in birds remains low. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.
As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flocks. The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.
Anyone involved with poultry production – from the small backyard to the large commercial producer – should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists and a toolkit available on its Defend the Flock Resource Center website.
All cases in commercial and backyard flocks will be listed on the APHIS website.
In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. New Mexico bird owners should immediately report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the New Mexico State Veterinarian at 505-841-6161 or 505-414-2811, or call the USDA at 866-536-7593. The local USDA office may be reached at 505-313-8050.
The New Mexico Livestock Board website offers information about import permits for shipments coming to New Mexico originating in the HPAI-impacted states.
APHIS urges producers to consider bringing birds indoors when possible to further prevent exposures. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found on the APHIS Avian Health website.