APHIS in Action: Safeguarding American Agriculture and Ecosystems Against Biological Threats

Chicken behind fence

The United States has the strongest avian influenza surveillance program in the world. In partnership with states and other agencies, our ongoing surveillance program collects and tests large numbers of samples from wild birds in the North American flyways. This work helps save domestic poultry from being infected with diseases like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and helps keep agriculture safe for everyone.

In 2022, APHIS employees performed 1,854,713 tests on commercial poultry flocks. Through National Poultry Improvement Plan cooperative agreements, we coordinated the collection of 20,860 wild bird samples. These partnerships help protect the U.S. poultry industry, valued at $46.1 billion. 

gloved hands swabbing a ducks mouth

For years, APHIS has also run a successful outreach campaign targeting both commercial and backyard bird owners. This campaign shares biosecurity messaging for all types of domestic birds to teach people how to defend the flock. Because of the ongoing HPAI outbreak, which has become the largest animal health emergency to date, it is critical that we continue to reach bird owners with messages about how they can defend their flocks. This campaign helps people learn how to prevent avian influenza from reaching their poultry.

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We saw fewer cases of HPAI in 2023 than we did in 2022.  In fact, we saw 146 cases of HPAI in commercial poultry facilities in 2023, versus 306 in commercial facilities in 2022. We credit the decrease in cases in 2023 to a combination of factors. Detections of HPAI in wild birds have decreased, suggesting there is less virus in the environment. Improved biosecurity measures by the commercial industry have reduced the number of detections in the commercial sector. Robust surveillance and increased awareness and reporting have also helped us very quickly identify and respond to cases, decreasing the chance of spread from farm to farm.

By implementing proactive measures and organizing rapid response efforts, APHIS is protecting the poultry industry and the well-being of wild birds across America.