The Missouri Department of Agriculture has ordered the suspension of all domestic waterfowl and waterfowl egg auctions, shows and swap meets for the next two months, as Missouri is now among at least 13 states dealing with an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. While the virus has impacted poultry flocks in three counties, the department said in a news release Wednesday that waterfowl are more likely to co-mingle with migratory birds that are carrying the virus despite not showing symptoms. The three counties where positive cases have been identified—Bates, Jasper, and Stoddard—will also have all poultry auctions, shows and swap meets suspended. All other counties are still able to sell and exhibit poultry at this time with strict biosecurity measures in place. The statewide ban does not apply to the sale of recently hatched ducklings at feed stores. State ag officials say a review of the suspension will take place at the end of May.
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or HPAI is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens and other meat poultry. While there is no present threat to human health or the meat supply, rapid response and depopulation is critical to containing the spread of the virus. Over 294,000 birds have been depopulated at a commercial broiler operation in Stoddard County, along with 51 birds from a backyard flock in Bates County. A commercial turkey operation in Jasper County with 27,000 turkeys was the site of a positive case Tuesday and is also subject to depopulation.
Warning signs of HPAI infection in a poultry flock include decreased consumption of water or feed, coughing and sneezing, quietness among the flock, decrease in egg production, and a sudden increase of death. Anyone suspecting increased illness or death among their birds is advised to contact their veterinarian or the Missouri State Veterinarian’s office at 573-751-3377. Additional details about HPAI are available on the Missouri Department of Agriculture website.