Avian Flu continues to spread in the U.S., while African Swine Fever poses a continuing threat to the nation’s hog producers. Avian Flu continues to show up in more than half the states and has now infected at least one person who was culling a poultry flock in Colorado.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack updated House Ag lawmakers at the end of April. “As of today, there are roughly 29 states that have dealt with and are dealing with AI. Roughly 200, almost 240 flocks have been impacted and infected. In 21 states, it’s both commercial and backyard flocks. In eight states, it’s just simply backyard.”
Highlighting the need for surveillance. “We have 585 folks between the federal and state efforts here focused on this on a daily basis. We’re concerned, obviously, about rapid spread, and that’s why we have encouraged producers to be very cautious and very careful about biosecurity.”
With improvements, Vilsack claims, from the 2014-2015 outbreak in identifying, isolating, and depopulating infected flocks. As for African Swine Fever; “Obviously, the goal here is to make sure it doesn’t hit the mainland. We’ve created a protective zone in Puerto Rico. We’re working with the Dominican Republic and Haitian officials to begin the process of trying to get it under control in those countries.”
Providing resources, staff, and lab facilities while bulking up U.S. security through customs and airport ads to keep out items that might compromise the U.S. pork industry.