Meat & Livestock News

HPAI Impact Escalates in California, Developments in Georgia and Canada, Vaccine Efficacy Questioned

The USDA has reported a significant rise in highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases in California, with the affected bird count nearing 4 million in the past month.

This surge is part of a larger outbreak affecting about 7.2 million birds in seven U.S. states, encompassing both commercial and backyard flocks. Despite the high numbers in California, which include a variety of poultry in seven counties, there’s an indication of a slowdown in overall outbreaks.

In a noteworthy development, Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper announced on December 27 that the state has been declared HPAI-free following a November outbreak in a Southwest Georgia commercial waterfowl facility.

This status, recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), is a significant step towards resuming poultry exports and international trade from Georgia. However, Harper stressed the ongoing risk of HPAI and the need for continued biosecurity measures among all flock owners.

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed new HPAI outbreaks in western Quebec. The affected commercial poultry farm marks the first report of HPAI in the region since the virus’s resurgence in 2022, leading to surprise from local officials.

Additionally, the efficacy of HPAI vaccines is being questioned in France. A commercial farm reported that 8,700 vaccinated ducks tested positive for HPAI and were subsequently culled. It’s uncertain if these ducks had received the advised third dose of the vaccine in high-risk areas.

Reports from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota suggest that while vaccines may not completely prevent HPAI, they can help reduce the virus’s spread and shedding among birds.