Illinois enters into intergovernmental agreement with USDA to
conduct surveillance of game bird and poultry farms
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Blagojevich announces grant for additional monitoring of avian
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
announced Friday that the state would begin surveillance for avian
influenza among Illinois wild game bird and poultry breeders.
Through an intergovernmental agreement with the USDA, the state has
been awarded $165,000 in funding to work with game bird and poultry
producers to provide free testing for the highly pathogenic H5N1
avian influenza in captive-reared game birds and poultry.
"Bird flu continues to be a concern in parts of Asia and Europe, and
even though we haven't seen signs of the disease in the U.S., we
need to make sure Illinois is in the best possible position to
detect the disease early," said Gov. Blagojevich.
In an effort to
enhance the capacity to detect highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)
in the United States, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)
and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will
participate in a joint effort to increase surveillance in Illinois
for avian flu. The program allows for IDOA to provide necropsies
(autopsies) of game birds and appropriate testing for avian flu.
Flock owners who elect to be a part of the program may submit up to
10 birds per flock every 6 months for necropsy to the Animal Disease
Laboratory in Centralia or Galesburg or the University of
Illinois-College of Veterinary Medicine's Diagnostic Laboratory at
no charge to the owners.
This agreement will also cover the cost of having a licensed
veterinarian travel to the farm, drawing blood samples, submitting
the sample and testing the samples at the Animal Disease Laboratory
Galesburg for 30 birds per flock every 6 months.
The IDOA will provide reimbursement funding for these and other
low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and HPAI surveillance
activities with the poultry industry throughout Illinois through a
cooperative agreement with the USDA. Letters have been sent to all
game bird license holders in Illinois and all those with registered
poultry flocks alerting them of the availability of the program.
"While the Asian strain of high path avian influenza has never
been identified in the United States, we want to assist these
breeders in monitoring and testing for the disease, which will
better our chances of catching the problem early and eliminating it,
should it ever become necessary," said IDOA Director Chuck Hartke.
"This expansion to include captive game birds allows breeders to
voluntarily have their flocks tested at no additional cost to them,
providing the state with greater detection ability for avian flu and
providing the breeder with greater assurance of the health of their
flock," said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. "Testing last fall of
hunter-harvested waterfowl was very successful, and we'll continue
with those efforts this spring."
The IDNR announced plans in the fall of 2006 to participate in
the national surveillance effort for highly-pathogenic (HP) Asian
H5N1 avian influenza by collecting samples from hunter-harvested
waterfowl. Illinois was awarded $75,000 by the USDA to pursue
statewide surveillance of certain species of wild birds for the
disease. Approximately 800 samples are expected to have been tested
by the conclusion of spring migration. Samples are being taken from
several species of ducks and geese that were selected based on
migratory connections to other continents where HP Asian H5N1 is
known to occur. A secondary group of species that have potential to
intermix with those in the primary species set will also be a part
of the collection sample.
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Currently, HP Asian H5N1, which has caused mortality in domestic
poultry, wild birds, and humans on other continents,
has not been detected in North America. While the role of
wild birds in transporting HP Asian H5N1 is not clear, this
surveillance effort will help to ensure early detection of the
disease should it arrive in North America.
The state has taken a
number of steps to address the potential for avian flu in the U.S.:
The IDNR sampled
nearly 700 hunter-harvested waterfowl at 21 sites across the
state this past fall. The IDNR will live-trap and sample some
diving ducks during this spring's migration.
In April 2006, the
Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory in Galesburg
became the first lab in the state to receive certification to
perform viral testing for avian influenza. The updated status of
the lab will significantly cut down the time it takes to
determine whether a suspected case of bird flu may in fact be
The IDOA on Monday
conducted a tabletop simulation to evaluate the agency's
response in the case of an avian flu or other animal disease
Experts recommend humans who are in contact with wild birds
follow standard sanitary practices:
Do not handle or
eat sick game.
Wear rubber or
disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash
hands thoroughly with soap and water, and thoroughly clean
knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
Do not eat, drink,
or smoke while handling animals.
All game should be
thoroughly cooked (well done or 160° F). Additional information
on food safety can be found at:
[To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF
file, click here.]
Flock owners can avoid contracting or spreading the disease by
practicing good biosecurity measures:
to your property and your birds.
disease from your neighbor.
Know the warning
signs of infectious bird diseases.
Report sick birds
to your veterinarian or IDOA.
copied from file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information)