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US to change AI reporting rules

Following the latest negative bird flu test result in Ohio, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) are changing the US protocol for reporting avian influenza outbreaks.

The mass media will only be informed of outbreaks of bird flu if initial tests involve a significant number of sick or dead birds, or if there are other circumstances that suggest that the avian influenza subtypes found are highly pathogenic.
In other cases where low-pathogenic AI is suspected, cases will be listed on the Internet.
To date, the USDA and DOI have publicly announced 12 cases of potential high-pathogenic H5N1 in six states, all of which were found to be low-pathogenic or completely negative for the virus through confirmatory testing.
In a joint statement, the agencies said that the new reporting rules were being put in place because “LPAI H5N1 detections are common and pose no threat to human health”.
More LPAI cases are expected in the future as expanded surveillance of wild birds begins. DOI will maintain a list of all such routine detections as part of the National Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Early Detection Data System (HEDDS). The low path H5N1 detection list can be accessed here. A link also will be available on the USDA's avian influenza web page.
The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) earlier confirmed that there was no avian influenza present in samples collected from wild Northern pintail ducks in Ottawa County, Ohio. Initial screening results announced on 14 October indicated that H5 and N1 subtypes might be present in the collected samples, but further testing was necessary to confirm the H and N subtypes as well as pathogenicity.

Editor WorldPoultry

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