An avian influenza biosecurity reminder and the latest Board meeting recording is available

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

board of animal health

Animal Bytes

December 2020

Seasonal Avian Influenza Detection and Biosecurity Reminder

Migratory bird pathway map

The detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in other countries is a good reminder that poultry in Minnesota are at risk because of migratory pathways and how birds move around the world. According to the National Wildlife Health Center December Bulletin, “The global level of HPAI virus detections in wild birds as we begin winter 2020/2021 is similar to the winter of 2014/2015, when HPAI was detected in North American wild birds and heavily impacted domestic fowl.” While the memories of HPAI H5N2 in 2015 begin to fade, the new habits adopted because of our own HPAI experiences need to stay. The keys to detecting and preventing HPAI in Minnesota are:

1. Early detection

Any unexplained increase in mortality, decreased egg production, respiratory issues, or neurologic (twisted necks or quiet) signs of disease should be investigated. Make sure the people who work with your birds daily (either you or your workers) know what to look for. If you find one or two dead birds in your flock for a couple days in a row, and you cannot explain their death, contact your veterinarian, even if all other birds look fine.

  • Report what you’re seeing. Call your veterinarian to describe the signs in your flock so together next steps can be taken. If you do not have a veterinarian call the Board.
  • Submit samples for testing. If influenza is suspected, the Minnesota H5/H7 Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan requires 30 pooled tracheal swab samples from each barn be collected. Samples must be collected by an Authorized Poultry Testing Agent in good standing with the Board or an Accredited Veterinarian using an approved submission form. This is needed to ensure a proper and accurate disease assessment of the flock. Always collect samples from dead birds before others. Every grower should calculate the number of tracheal swab supplies (BHI tubes and swabs) needed to sample flocks within each operation. Call the MPTL (320-231-5170) or email if there are questions about the sample collection/submission process or to get supplies at no cost! Samples should be submitted to the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL). When collecting samples in these situations, please call ahead to the MPTL to notify them when samples will arrive.

2. Prevent exposure

  • Review and update your biosecurity plan. Biosecurity can only work to prevent avian influenza introductions if you and all employees follow it consistently.
  • Pay special attention to the line of separation. Carefully follow safe entry and exit procedures into your flock. Changing weather conditions can make these procedures difficult because of snow, ice, wind and other shifting weather conditions. At the same time, puddles and other standing water may attract waterfowl to get even closer to barns. This is the time to really focus on safe barn entries.
  • Make sure garbage and dead birds are removed from your farm site according to your biosecurity plan. This is needed in order to prevent disease transmission to other farm sites within your operation or to another grower. One of the most common ways HPAI moves around is through the movement of dead birds and garbage off the farm.

3. Communicate

If you see something, say something. Remind everyone you talk to about their role in your farm’s biosecurity. Evaluate your risks, ask questions and participate in protecting your flocks.

Keep reading...

USDA awards $14.4 million to protect animal health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is awarding $14.4 million to 76 projects across the country, with several funded right here in Minnesota.

Click here to review all the projects receiving funding.

This critical funding supports projects focused on increasing practical livestock biosecurity measures or advancing rapid depopulation and disposal abilities to be used during high-consequence animal disease outbreaks. It will also support projects to enhance early detection of high-consequence animal diseases and improve emergency response capabilities at National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

APHIS is awarding $9.3 million through the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP). The 46 NADPRP-funded projects will individually and collectively address critical livestock biosecurity and large-scale depopulation and carcass disposal concerns in all major livestock industries across all regions of the United States.

APHIS is awarding $5.1 million through the NAHLN. The 30 NAHLN-funded projects will be led by NAHLN laboratories representing 21 states. The projects will help NAHLN enhance early detection of high-consequence animal diseases and improve emergency response capabilities at NAHLN veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

Protect your community and download the COVID Aware app today.

Grace period eliminated for veterinarian accreditation renewals

Veterinarians’ accreditation records will now update to “expired” the day after their renewal date. The notification of expiration will be sent to the veterinarian and to the state's National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) Coordinator the day after the vet's renewal date if they have not renewed. Minnesota's NVAP Coordinator is Lisa Liddell.

NVAP strongly recommends veterinarians not postpone the renewal process until just before your accreditation expires. Review the renewal process on the NVAP webpage.

December 2020 Board meeting video posted

The recording of the December 2020 Board of Animal Health meeting has been posted to our Board members and meetings webpage and the Board's YouTube page.