WASHINGTON – Alabama became the latest state to deal with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the virus was confirmed in a commercial broiler breeder pullet operation of 47,900 birds in Marshall County last week.

Samples were tested at the Alabama State Diagnostic Laboratory and later confirmed at the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

“It is critical for commercial and backyard poultry operations to remain alert and closely monitor the health of their poultry,” said Rick Pate, Alabama agriculture commissioner and State Veterinarian Tony Frazier noted, in a joint statement. “The HPAI-infected flock in Marshall County reinforces the need to continue following strict biosecurity measures, including keeping birds enclosed without access to wild birds or other domestic flocks.”

In late October, a commercial upland gamebird farm in Chilton County was depopulated after HPAI was found among pheasants, quail, ducks and chukars. State and federal officials said 296,5000 birds were affected. 

APHIS also reported a substantial outbreak at a commercial egg laying operation in Wright County, Minn. The virus was confirmed in a flock that housed about 940,000 birds.

Since the 2022-2023 outbreak began, APHIS numbers from Nov. 6 show that 891 commercial and backyard flocks have been discovered with HPAI in 47 states. To date, the virus has affected 61.23 million birds.