15th Case of Avian Influenza Confirmed in Kansas

By Trish Svoboda

Since Dec 1, 2023, 15 cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in Kansas by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, as announced Monday. More than 450 commercial flocks across the U.S. have been affected, and the outbreak, beginning in 2022, has reached all but three states.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam said that the spread of the avian influenza pathogen was concentrated in Kansas, specifically in egg-laying facilities in McPherson and Rice counties, as well as gamebird facilities in Mitchell County. The latest case in Kansas was identified on Friday.

This round of avian flu appeared to be transmitted primarily by wild birds interacting with flocks, which, in most cases, leads to the euthanasia of entire commercial and backyard flocks. The 2015 outbreak was driven by farm-to-farm transmission.

Beam said that the state Department of Agriculture played a role in the humane euthanasia of infected flocks through approved methods and in the safe disposal of carcasses to prevent the spread to other flocks.

In testimony to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Beam identified the presence of backyard flocks where birds roam freely and come into contact with wild birds, as a contributing factor to the spread of avian influenza. Small residential operations are less likely to adopt biosecurity methods common in commercial facilities.

Beam stated that the industry has taken significant action to attempt to slow the ongoing spread of this disease to protect the rest of the nation’s flock.

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