USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released two updated interagency plans related to the surveillance of avian influenza in wild birds.

Part of USDA’s on-going efforts to combat highly pathogenic avian influenza, the updated plans will help USDA with further monitoring of wild birds for the HPAI virus during the fall migration. According to USDA, between now and March 2016, HPAI surveillance in wild birds will increase as APHIS Wildlife Services biologists and their State partners collect approximately 41,000 samples from apparently healthy wild birds from targeted areas throughout the United States.

The first updated plan— U.S. Interagency Strategic Plan for Early Detection and Monitoring for Avian Influenzas of Significance in Wild Birds—describes a unified national system for migratory wild bird sampling involving Federal, State, university and non-governmental organizations. The second updated plan— 2015 Surveillance Plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Waterfowl in the United States— outlines specific wild bird surveillance efforts for 2015-2016.

“The early detection of avian influenza remains key to controlling its spread and minimizing its effects,” said John Clifford, USDA chief veterinary officer.  “Many of the activities outlined in these plans are already being implemented and help warn us of any re-assortments or changes in low or highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild birds which could be detrimental to our domestic flocks.”

Since December 2014, the USDA has confirmed cases of HPAI H5 in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in more than 200 backyard and commercial poultry flocks.

 More information on avian influenza can be found at