(CMR) The Department of Agriculture said that it has received results for the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests from a laboratory in the United States that confirm that Avian Influenza was not found in the samples submitted for testing.
The samples were taken from five birds in a local poultry flock with suspected positive results from preliminary rapid antigen tests.
The Department of Agriculture states, “The rapid test results are indicative only of suspect cases of the virus, the presence or absence of which can be confirmed by PCR testing. However, in situations such as this, given the lack of on-island capacity for PCR testing for Avian Influenza, the time delay in receiving results from international laboratories and the highly infectious nature of the virus, the risk of waiting to take appropriate control measures is simply too great.”
“As such, the best and most appropriate course of action to protect the islands' poultry farmers is to euthanize the suspected flock and compensate the producer as was done in this instance”.
Sudden and extensive deaths of birds in a flock can be the result of a number of factors, including but not limited to high levels of parasitic infection combined with other respiratory diseases and negative environmental conditions.
The Department said it remains best practice to test for Avian Influenza in all such instances of high mortality.