AI situation update 1/28/16

State of Indiana Response to Avian Flu in Dubois County
1/28/16
 
New information is in bold italics.

BACKGROUND

On January 15, it was announced that confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza were found in Dubois County. State, local and federal agencies are working together on containment and depopulation operations. On January 16, nine additional avian influenza detections were announced, with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirming on January 17 that eight flocks have been confirmed as low pathogenic avian influenza. More information on the ninth positive could not be confirmed through the original testing, and more in-depth testing is being conducted at the USDA National Services Laboratory.

A 10 kilometer control area has been established, primarily in Dubois County. An extension of an extra 10-kilomenter "surveillance zone," beyond the 10-km control zone, has been put in place as a precaution. The surveillance zone includes parts of Crawford, Daviess, Martin and Orange counties. All infected sites were in Dubois County.

CURRENT SITUATION

There were no new positive tests since January 16, but aggressive testing continues inside the 10-km control area and additional 10-km surveillance zone. All commercial poultry farms located in the control area and the surveillance zone have completed at least two rounds of negative tests. Testing will continue for several more weeks within the control and surveillance zone to ensure that no H7N8 remains in the area.

Birds have been depopulated on all ten premises. Decontamination, cleaning and disposal processes continue on all sites. Turkeys are being composted in the buildings in which they were euthanized. The composting process takes about three weeks, after which time, the compost can be used agriculturally because it will not contain the virus.

An additional 156,000 hens (chickens) that were NOT infected with H7N8 have been depopulated and disposed of in a landfill. The facility was considered a "dangerous contact" to an infected turkey flock. The laying facility is located very close to an infected barn and shares a vehicular traffic zone with the original site, putting the birds at high risk of contracting the virus. No chickens are infected.

Previous depopulation tallies have been based on estimated flock sizes. Final reporting has been completed on all sites, with 258,325 turkeys and 156,178 chickens affected.

State and federal teams have visited 1,945 residences in a 10-kilometer radius control area around the original site to search for small, backyard flocks of birds for precautionary monitoring and testing. A total of 105 backyard flocks have been found, and initial sampling of these flocks has been completed. All small flock samples tested so far have been negative. After initial testing, these flocks will be retested in 14 days.

Several mental health treatment options are available to those affected:

  • Phone hotline offered by Southern Hills Counseling Center in Jasper, at 812-482-3020. If the call is made after hours, the caller should press 0.

  • A 24-hour phone hotline through Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center, at 812-827-6222.

RESPONSE
 
A total of 266 state, federal and local responders are working in Dubois County on surveillance and response efforts.

STATE RESPONSE

A Unified Incident Command Post (UCP) has been established in Jasper, Indiana. The post is currently staffed by the District 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), along with federal and local partners. The District 1 IMT will be transferring operations to the District 10 IMT on Friday, January 29. With depopulation complete, much of the response staff and equipment is being demobilized. Some staff and equipment will remain in Dubois County to oversee continued testing, composting and disinfection.
 
State Agencies supporting activities in the UCP: The State Board of Animal Health, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Indiana State Police.
 
Other organizations supporting activities in the UCP: United States Department of Agriculture, Vincennes University Jasper Campus, Indiana State Poultry Association, Dubois County Emergency Management Agency and Dubois County Health Department.
 
State Emergency Operations Center: Under the leadership of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Indiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated at Level III and will remain activated 24 hours a day to monitor conditions and provide resource support.
 
FEDERAL RESPONSE

The United States Department of Agriculture has approximately 83 representatives, along with private contractors, in Dubois County assisting with state and local efforts.  A National Incident Management Team is in place, with additional staff continuing to arrive in Indiana to help coordinate efforts. The current National Incident Management Team will be transferring operations to another team on Monday, February 1.
 
PUBLIC ADVISORIES
 
Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat. Officials are not aware of any public health significance with this virus. Human infection from an H7 virus is uncommon, but can cause some conjunctivitis and/or upper respiratory tract symptoms. Human health agencies will be monitoring workers and others in contact with birds to monitor for illness.

Backyard poultry owners are encouraged to be aware of the signs of avian influenza and report illness and/or death to the USDA Healthy Birds Hotline:  866-536-7593. Callers will be routed to a state or federal veterinarian in Indiana for a case assessment. Dead birds should be double-bagged and refrigerated for possible testing.
 
Signs include:  sudden death without clinical signs; lack of energy or appetite; decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling or purple discoloration of head, eyelids, comb, hocks; nasal discharge; coughing; sneezing; lack of coordination; and diarrhea. A great resource for backyard bird health information is online at: http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov/.
 
Situation updates and status reports about ongoing avian influenza activities, along with critical disease-related information, will be posted online at:  www.in.gov/boah/2390.htm. Users may subscribe to email updates on a link at that page.