South Dakota’s Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Mendel Miller says there are at least 31 confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the state so far and the majority of those are commercial farms. That’s more than triple the cases South Dakota had in 2015. “It seems like a daily event where we have a new positive case, if not more,” says Miller. “Everyone knew it could be a dangerous spring. The poultry industry is doing a great job containing the virus, but it’s not been enough to keep the virus out.” Biosecurity efforts are keeping the virus from moving farm to farm, but Miller thinks more wild birds are carrying HPAI this year. “I think the viral load out there in the environment is a lot of virus to try and keep out.” Having strong biosecurity protocols is one lesson commercial poultry farms learned in 2015, but Miller says the industry is still learning. “The biggest lesson we’re learning right now is we still don’t have enough information to prevent HPAI. All we can do is deal with it when it pops up.”
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