Video: Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Urges Vigilance Toward Avian Flu

Manhattan, Kan. — In this video, Justin Smith – the animal health commissioner with the Kansas Department of Agriculture – discusses the recent discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Kansas, and its implications for poultry producers and backyard flock owners.
“Having (this virus) in the state now heightens the need for us to do the right thing,” Smith said.
Currently there are no restrictions or stop movements for producers or for groups planning to hold poultry shows or swap meets. “Our plea is for folks that are attending these events to step up your game a little bit,” Smith said. “If you have a show that is utilizing waterfowl and domestic poultry, maybe there is an opportunity to do them on separate days,” or have separate events.
Smith said the current strain of avian flu has not shown any indication that it is zoonotic, or able to transfer to humans. “We do not consider it a public health issue, or a food safety issue on prepared foods or eggs,” he said. Consumers should always cook poultry products to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.
As of March 16, avian influenza has been reported in 17 states as birds migrate south. Smith believes Kansans may be dealing with this virus for a few months, or until warmer, drier temperatures arrive.
“Frankly,” he said, “we need these birds to move on through, stop creating exposure. History has shown us that it will eliminate itself as we get into the summer months. (For now), it’s still a risk.”
For more information on avian influenza or to report suspected infection, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website at agriculture.ks.gov/avianinfluenza, or call 833-765-2006.