Illinois monitors Avian Influenza impacting surrounding states - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois monitors Avian Influenza impacting surrounding states

SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) -  Poultry producers, captive bird owners and zoos across the state of Illinois are working with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to reduce the risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), that is impacting several states across the nation, including the Midwest with none in Illinois.

"The Department is calling on everyone involved with birds, regardless of flock size, to work together to protect the poultry industry," said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson. "This virus is a reminder of the animal health and regulatory food inspection activities the Department is involved in year round to help reduce and eliminate diseases that can be detrimental to the industry."

IDOA is reminding consumers that their eggs, turkey and chicken are safe to continue to eat. 

Additionally, birds from all impacted flocks will not enter into the food supply.

"There are no signs that the current virus poses a risk to our food supply," said Dr. Kris Mazurczak, IDOA Bureau Chief of Meat and Poultry Inspection. "Consumers are reminded to follow proper handling of poultry products and to cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit."

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has been in discussions with IDOA and the Illinois Department of Public Health on avian influenza and is prepared to coordinate state response efforts if the virus is found in Illinois.

State Veterinarian Dr. Mark Ernst said, "It is imperative that producers and zoos practice their flock management plans as they relate to disease prevention and bio-security." 

"Eliminating direct and indirect exposure of poultry to wild birds, especially waterfowl, will help to reduce the footprint of this virus," Dr Ernst said.

Entrance into poultry facilities should be limited to essential personnel in adherence with strict bio-security guidelines.

"No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time and the risk to individuals from these infections is low," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. "However, similar viruses have infected humans in the past, so we remain vigilant in monitoring these outbreaks."

Avian influenza entered the United States in mid December 2014 with incidents occurring within the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways. Several million birds have either died or have been euthanized due to the virus with cases in wild birds, captive wild birds, backyard poultry and commercial poultry.

To date 17 states have been impacted, including: Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin in the Midwest.

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