Delegation Secures $13.7 Million to Fight Avian Influenza

Emergency fund will be used to clean up infected live bird markets, increase surveillance, improve biosecurity.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle today announced that they have secured $13.7 million to implement avian influenza countermeasures and protect poultry operations in several states, including Delaware. The Delaware and Maryland Delegations wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in March, urging her to exercise emergency authority by transferring existing federal funding to help address the problem in Fiscal Year 2004. “Securing this funding now is absolutely critical to help guard against devastating episodes of avian influenza in Delaware and across the nation. Efforts to attack avian influenza need to start immediately, and we are grateful that the USDA has recognized the importance of this to the Delmarva poultry industry,” the Delegation said. “The additional funding will respond to many needs including expanded monitoring of avian influenza, increased surveillance of the live-bird markets and distributors, advanced research on and implementation of fast and economical tests, and confirmed identification and tracking of avian influenza sources.” The $13.7 million announced today will be allocated as follows: $10.789 million total for Low Path Avian Influenza Program · $6.136 million for cleanout and indemnity of live bird markets which are often the source of avian influenza infections that spread to commercial poultry flocks. · $4 .653 million for the following program operations: o Cooperative agreements with states that will support A.I. monitoring by regional laboratories; o To hire employees to monitor the markets and distributors and to support field activities; o Data base support for premises registration and premises identification for all production units, markets and distributors in the live bird market system; o Educational materials and training for recognition of avian influenza and for biosecurity practices to protect against it; o Support a bird identification system; o To continue surveillance in the northeast and begin surveillance efforts outside the northeast that have significant live bird market activity (including Texas, Florida, California); o To provide reagents and other laboratory support to allow the commercial program through the National Poultry Improvement Plan to continue on schedule; o $497,000 will be used for development and administration of vaccine to support industry affected with low pathogenic avian influenza $2. 883 million for support of High Path Avian Influenza outbreak in Texas. The Delaware Congressional Delegation has also requested $25 million for the Low Path Avian Influenza Program in Fiscal Year 2005 and $1.2 million for avian influenza diagnostic testing at the University of Delaware.