From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–The country has seen the West and Midwest’s poultry industry devastated by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). While not detected in the state, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam’s department has been working with partners to keep the disease at bay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from HPAI virus to be low, and no human infections with this virus have been detected.
“Avian influenza has wreaked havoc on the poultry industry in the West and Midwest, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is going to great lengths to develop and implement plans to prevent an outbreak from occurring here and to respond quickly in the event one does occur,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Surveillance and testing are integral parts of preventing the spread of disease, and at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and in the field, our scientists and disease investigators are on the front lines of protecting animal health in Florida.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been leading planning efforts, including:
• Regularly monitoring domestic poultry for evidence of avian influenza viruses;
• Testing samples that are regularly collected from backyard flocks, show birds, commercial poultry, and live bird markets at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory—Florida’s only approved laboratory to conduct HPAI testing;
• Convening HPAI workshops with federal, state and local government officials, as well as the poultry industry;
• Providing educational information on HPAI for those with backyard flocks at feed stores throughout Florida, so Floridians with small flocks at home know what to look for and what to do; and
• Meeting with Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Bryan Koon and staff at the Emergency Operations Center to plan for the event that HPAI is detected in Florida and activate the EOC if needed.
Anyone working with birds, not just veterinarians, is required to report sick birds to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry at 850-410-0900 or after hours at 1-800-342-5869. Department scientists will investigate each report and work to identify the cause of illness.
Poultry from other countries that have ongoing issues with serious avian influenza virus strains are not permitted to enter the United States. Additionally, poultry from HPAI quarantined areas of the United States cannot be imported into Florida.
Florida’s poultry industry is 400 million dollar industry with approximately 20 million commercial birds.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.