Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410
Andrea McNally (202) 799-7033
WASHINGTON, Sept, 18, 2015----The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a report on planning and preparations for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in advance of a potential recurrence of the disease when birds migrate south this fall.
The HPAI outbreak that devastated poultry producers during the winter and spring of 2015 was the worst animal disease in U.S. history. It affected more than 48.8 million birds and 21 States before the final detection on June 17. The incredible scope of this outbreak presented many challenges to Federal, state and industry resources and clearly identified areas where greater coordination, preparation and communication were needed. While response operations continue in the Midwest, APHIS and its partners have used the time since the last positive detection to plan for the return of the disease, using a hypothetical worst case scenario in an effort to prepare.
APHIS’ planning activities incorporated our experience from this year’s response effort, our epidemiologic studies, and extensive feedback and input gathered from State partners, industry, academia and other stakeholders. The Fall 2015 HPAI Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan captures the results of this planning effort, organizing information on preparatory activities, policy decisions and updated strategy documents into four key areas:
The report includes an updated biosecurity self-assessment for the poultry industry, streamlined and updated procedures for providing indemnity and other payments, a draft vaccine use strategy and many other items of interest to the Agency’s stakeholders. A copy of the Fall 2015 HPAI Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan and supporting documents are available on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/aiupdates.
APHIS is keenly aware of the significant impact the spring outbreak has had on all parties—poultry producers, allied industries, federal and state governments, and the American consumer. As we near the beginning of the fall season, APHIS is confident that its surveillance programs in commercial and wild birds, which are the strongest in the world, will enable us to detect the disease early. APHIS’ advanced planning and the preparations undertaken by the States and the poultry industry will help quickly contain the disease. If HPAI should reappear in the coming months, APHIS is ready to respond and committed to helping those affected by the disease.