Southeastern States Watching Midwestern High Path AI Case Closely


Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed in a turkey flock in Indiana late last week and Dr. Boyd Parr, State Veterinarian for the State of South Carolina says the diagnosis comes as no surprise:

“While disappointing, it’s not necessarily surprising, to have a case diagnosed.  Indiana is a reminder to us in South Carolina the points of remaining vigilant, we’ve been very active since the events of 2015 preparing to respond to a virus like HPAI, similar to what happened in the Midwest.

Now, this case in Indiana happens to be a different type, and it’s one type of highly pathogenic avian influenza, and zone surveillance with that plant has revealed infections with a similar low pathogenic strain in birds that aren’t showing any symptoms.”

While the strain of virus discovered in Indiana is different than that of last year Parr says the response is the same:

“The impact for us here in South Carolina, we have a low path avian influenza plan, this in Indiana is a mix of high path and low path plans, and it’s a good reminder for us here in South Carolina and in other states this is more the norm of what we’re prepared to respond to, and it’s a reminder that every avian influenza virus can be slightly different and this is a good reminder that we need to prepare, not for only one specific outbreak but we need to be sure that we’ve covered all the scenarios so we’re ready to respond.”

As far as the state of Indiana’s response, Parr had this:

“Really impressed with the job that Indiana is doing, they’re leaning forward, a real collaboration between the industry and the state.  I spoke with Bret Marsh yesterday morning, and he was most complimentary with how the well industry had worked with his office, and I have confidence in the work that they’re doing, they’re doing an excellent job of getting on top of the situation.”

And Parr says, while one case of high path AI has been identified, that doesn’t mean it’s going to spread beyond its point of discovery:

“And we’re all hopeful that will be the case, and I’m optimistic that it will be the case given the scenario.  We will soon get a better idea when they do some testing, expand the zone, and see if they discover this low pathogenic avian influenza in surrounding areas.  It could, very commonly be limited to this one location.  And the low pathogenic isn’t causing the problem, but it has the risk, as it obviously must have done in this one flock…through passages, it mutates into a highly pathogenic form.”

State Veterinarian for South Carolina, Dr. Boyd Parr'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.