Low-pathogenic avian influenza was detected in a quail flock in Stanilaus County, California, on April 18 and, as a result, Russia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have banned imports of chicken from California.  Cuba restricted imports of fresh or frozen poultry from birds raised or processed in Stanilaus Country.  Japan has banned California eggs laid and poultry slaughtered on or after March 24.

The virus strain is H5.  The affected farm, which has been quarantined,  contained about 95,000 Japanese quail and an additional 21,000 Peking ducks for egg production.  “Veterinarians are humanly euthanizing birds at  the farm as called for in established protocols, which also include epidemiological investigations, further testing of any at-risk flocks, and communication with other poultry farms to ensure that the disease is contained,” said Steve Lyle, spokesman for California’s Department of Food and Agriculture.

“The ban will have little effect on the U.S. market for poultry meat because California is not a big exporter,” Tom Elam, president of FarmEcon LLC said.  “The odds are low that it will cause problems beyond these farms,” he said, but “it bears watching any time one of these outbreaks happens.