WASHINGTON — Although cases continue to decline nationwide, new highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases have recently been identified in areas of the United States.

On Aug. 11, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture confirmed the virus in Sacramento County, Calif., in a non-commercial backyard flock.

Samples from the flock were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

The agency said it is working closely with state animal health officials in Connecticut and Iowa on a joint incident response. 

After announcing a $25 million recovery and reimbursement program earlier in August, Pennsylvania state officials reported an HPAI case in a non-commercial backyard flock in Northampton County.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said a duck and chickens in an Upper Mount Bethel Township were infected after a dead turkey vulture was found on the property.

Officials noted that a portion of the control area is in New Jersey and the two states are working together on the quarantined perimeter.  

“Poultry and eggs in Northampton County bring in $141 million in sales to support the county’s economy,” said Russell Redding, Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary. “Backyard bird owners should recognize that this disease is deadly to their birds. Protecting their birds helps protect neighboring poultry farms and the families and jobs that depend on those businesses.”

The latest numbers from the APHIS show 402 commercial and backyard flocks have been discovered with HPAI in 39 states. To date, the virus affected 40.14 million birds.