Washington, DC - During the week of December 14, 2014, USDA confirmed two findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds in Washington State and in a small backyard poultry flock in Oregon. We reported these findings to the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) as required. As a result of the findings, some countries have placed restrictions on U.S. poultry exports.
OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern. Unfortunately, some countries have decided to place far more restrictive measures than necessary on U.S. poultry, including, in a few instances, bans on imports of all U.S. poultry and poultry products. We disagree with these actions and are taking a number of steps to address them and help support the U.S. poultry industry. USDA is in communication with trading partners to provide more information on the detections of avian influenza in Oregon and Washington State. We are also sharing information on our strong surveillance for avian influenza, which has not detected highly pathogenic avian influenza in any commercial U.S. poultry. We will press trading partners in the coming days to bring their import restrictions in line with OIE guidelines and the information we have provided them.
No human cases with these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally. There is no immediate public health concern as a result of these detections. While neither virus has been found in commercial poultry, USDA emphasizes that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat even if they carry the disease if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.