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Appendix M: Communications Templates for Avian Influenza Notifications, Advisories, and Releases




Template 1:   H5/H5N1/HPAI Detection in Wild Migratory Birds

                       Notification Template for Congress, States, etc. 

Test Results
  1. H type and/or N subtype/pathogenicity
  2. Type of test method used
  3. Which lab did initial/validated/confirmatory test
  4. Additional information on testing

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Background on Sample
  1. What type of bird (species, live, dead, hunter taken, etc.)
  2. Circumstances and conditions (die-off, routine sampling survey, size of the die-off or other event, condition of the carcasses, etc.)
  3. Geographic location of sampling or event
  4. Public or private land (Federal, State, local, owner etc.)
  5. When was sample collected
  6. Who collected sample
  7. Additional information on sample

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Immediate Actions Being Taken
  1. Additional Testing
  2. Biosecurity at sample site
  3. Status of public/private access to site
  4. Increased surveillance at sample site
  5. Biosecurity along migratory path
  6. Increased security along migratory path
  7. Notification of local, State, Federal, international agencies/officials

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Longer term actions to be taken
  1. Site access, increased surveillance, further testing
  2. Land management modifications, etc.

Notifications or actions agency contacted should be making/taking
  1. Sub agencies/associated groups/States/nations, international organizations, etc.

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Next scheduled notification/communication on event
Contact names and numbers for more detailed information, explanations, clarifications, etc.

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Template 2:   First wild migratory birds tests presumed positive for HPAI H5N1 in the U.S. associated with a (scenario one) die-off or (scenario two) hunter-killed bird
News release header
Angela Harless, USDA (202) 720-4623
Frank Quimby, DOI (202) 208-6416
HHS Press Office (202) 690-6343

(The following is a fictitious media release for the purposes of example. Date is deliberately left out.)

STANDARD TEMPLATE FOR FIRST BIRD
Scenario: First wild migratory birds tests presumed positive for HPAI H5N1 in the U.S. associated with a (scenario one) die-off or (scenario two) hunter-killed bird.

Dr. Leslie Dierauf, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc., today announced the first presumptive positive highly pathological H5N1 avian influenza test of a wild [INSERT SPECIES] bird from XX [INSERT LOCATION].

The bird was tested under the Federal Government’s wild bird monitoring plan. [SCENARIO ONE, DIE-OFF, SENTENCE] The sample was taken from a dead wild bird that was part of a die-off involving about XX [NUMBER OF] wild birds; the die-off was first reported on XX, 2006. [SCENARIO TWO, HUNTER-KILLED, SENTENCE] A [Native subsistence/regular season hunter] hunter took the bird at XX [INSERT LOCATION]. A swab was taken from the bird at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service check station and sent to the USGS for testing.

Dierauf cautioned that this is a preliminary test of a wild bird and that a variety of avian influenza viruses are fairly common in North American waterfowl and shorebirds. “The finding of an H5N1 avian influenza virus is not unexpected,” said Dierauf, noting that both low-pathogenic and high-pathogenic strains of H5N1 avian influenza virus exist.

The designation of low or highly pathogenic avian influenza refers to the potential for these viruses to kill domestic poultry. Most avian influenza strains found in wild birds are the more common low pathogenic strains and typically result in little apparent harm to wild birds.

“The low-path variety of this H5N1 virus occurs in North American migratory birds, and it poses only minimal risk to poultry and no risk to people,” Dierauf said. “This is in contrast to the more lethal high-path variety of H5N1 that has been circulating elsewhere in the world.”

The additional testing required to verify if this is the low-path or high-path H5N1 form of avian influenza can take up to 10 days. Identical samples from the bird[s] tested by the USGS have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmatory tests of the strain of H5N1.

“While we have a presumptive H5N1 virus from dead birds on site, the National Wildlife Health Center field investigation and lab diagnosis teams will be examining other potential causes of the observed bird mortality while awaiting confirmation and pathogenicity testing from the Ames lab,” Dierauf said.

The finding of high-path H5N1 virus in migratory birds would in no way signal the beginning of a human pandemic. Federal authorities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also emphasize that poultry and wild birds are safe to eat even if they carry the disease if they are cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The high-path H5N1 virus is a disease of birds that only rarely infects humans who have been in close contact with domestic birds without adequate safety precautions. While there is currently only one unconfirmed report of a person being infected with high-path H5N1 from wild birds, close exposure to domestic and wild birds potentially infected with high-path H5N1 should be avoided, Dierauf said.

While the confirmatory tests at the Ames lab are being conducted, Federal and State officials are closely monitoring the situation and taking appropriate precautionary biosecurity measures for [INSERT AS APPROPRIATE: visitors, other wildlife, nearby poultry farms, and employees] including:

Surveillance is being increased along the projected flyway path of the particular bird species from which the sample was taken.

Working with USDA and State and local agencies on activating biosecurity measures all along the predicted flyway path of this species.

[IF APPROPRIATE WHAT MEASURES ARE BEING TAKEN REGARDING ACCESS TO LAND OR CONTACT WITH WILD BIRDS]

ANYTHING ELSE???

WHAT ABOUT PUTTING SOMETHING ABOUT REPORTING DEAD WILD BIRDS AND/OR POULTRY???

Other Sources of Information:

-DOI-

(The preceding was a fictional account of a briefing for planning purposes only. No birds died in the making of this press release.)

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Template 3:   Media Advisory

INSERT DATE

INSERT NAME(S)

INSERT PHONE

INSERT EMAIL


Presumptive H5N1 Test in XX [SPECIES NAME] Found in [INSERT LOCATION]: Briefing Today

(The following is a fictitious media advisory and advisory for the purposes of example. Date is deliberately left out.)

Dr. Leslie Dierauf, Director of the United States Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc., today announced a presumptive test of H5N1 avian influenza on a dead [INSERT SPECIES] from the [INSERT LOCATION].  The bird was tested under the wild bird monitoring plan that is in effect in Alaska and the Pacific Flyway.

[SCENARIO ONE DIE-OFF SENTENCE:]  The sample was taken from a dead wild bird that was part of a die-off involving about XX [NUMBER OF] wild birds; the die-off was first reported on XX [DATE] [SCENARIO TWO SUBSISTENCE HUNTER SENTENCE]  A Native subsistence hunter took the bird near [INSERT LOCATION] and asked that it be tested as part of the Federal wild-bird testing program.

Dierauf cautioned that this is a preliminary test of a wild bird — a population that commonly has and carries forms of bird flu.  For the test to confirm the arrival into the United States of the highly pathogenic form of the flu that has been tracked through Asia, Europe, and Africa, other tests are being performed that can take from 5 to 10 days.  “Our initial presumptive tests have been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa,” Dierauf explained.  “They will retest to confirm our presumptive outcome and then will test to determine whether the strain is highly pathogenic or not.”

Scientists from the Departments of the Interior [INSERT PARTNERS PRESENT – STATE, OTHER FEDS, NATIVE REPS] will brief reporters on what this test does and does not mean at [INSERT TIME AND DATE] at the [INSERT LOCATION].  Reporters are asked to be conservative in their reporting of this sample.  There are no confirmations, and this is a disease of birds only at this stage.

Who:
What:   Briefing for presumptive positi9ve H5N1 test result in [INSERT LOCATION]
When:
Where:

The briefing is for credentialed media only.  Please sign in at the door.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

To receive USGS news releases go to www.usgs.gov/public/list_server.html

**** www.usgs.gov ****

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Template 4:    News Conference on First Bird HPAI
News release header
Angela Harless, USDA (202) 720-4623
Frank Quimby, DOI (202) 208-6416
HHS Press Office (202) 690-6343

(The following is a fictitious media release for the purposes of example. Date is deliberately left out.)

U.S. Scientists are Clear: Avian Flu is a Bird Disease; Sick Birds Do Not Signal a Pandemic; Poultry is Safe to Eat if Cooked Properly

Washington, D.C. — Three strong messages were delivered today at a technical briefing on avian flu by scientists from the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services:

The first presumptive H5N1 avian influenza test of a wild bird reported from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc., means the bird has some form of avian influenza virus. The form may be the high-pathogenic H5N1 form of avian influenza circulating worldwide or it may be one of the fairly common avian influenza viruses in North American waterfowl and shorebirds. Second, a sick bird in no way signals the beginning of a human pandemic, even if final results reveal the bird has the high-path H5N1 avian influenza. And third, poultry and wild birds are safe to eat even if they carry the disease if they are cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

[SCENARIO ONE: bird die-off] This bird, [INSERT SPECIES NAME], was part of a bird die-off involving about XX [INSERT NUMBER] wild birds; the die-off was first reported on XX [INSERT DATE]. The bird was tested through the wild bird monitoring program that is in effect in Alaska and the Pacific flyway in copperation with State and Federal agencies and universities. Initial presumptive testing by the USGS showed H5N1 in the bird on XX [INSERT DATE]. Initial testing does not reveal the pathogenicity of the virus; those tests are being performed but can take up to 10 days for results.

[SCENARIO TWO: Native subsistence hunter-killed bird] On May XX [INSERT DATE], 2006, a Native subsistence hunter in Alaska shot the bird, a [INSERT SPECIES NAME], near [INSERT LOCATION] in the [INSERT NAME OF FED/STATE LAND IF APPLICABLE]. The bird was tested through the wild bird monitoring program that is in effect in Alaska and the Pacific flyway in cooperation with State and Federal agencies and universities. Initial presumptive testing by the USGS showed H5N1 in the bird on XX [INSERT DATE]. Initial testing does not reveal the pathogenicity of the virus; those tests are being performed but can take up to 10 days for results.

Dr. Susan Haseltine, Associate Director for Biology at the USGS, said that identical samples from the bird[s] have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmatory tests of the strain and its pathogenicity; these tests can take up to 10 days [OR FROM 5 TO 10 DAYS?]

Hasletine noted that avian flu comes in many forms. The low-path variety of this virus occurs naturally in North American migratory birds, and it poses only minimal risk to poultry and no risk to people. “Our presumptive test showed two of the characteristics of the high-path avian flu that has been tracked through parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Further testing will reveal if the H5N1 positive that we have is of the highly pathogenic variety circulating in the world and which has proven to be deadly to many birds and some people in close contact with domestic birds in other countries.”

Haseltine said that an active education campaign aimed at Native and other hunters means that the hunter who shot the bird most likely was given a flyer that explained he should use gloves in dressing the bird, he should not smoke, drink or eat while cleaning the bird, and that all surfaces and utensils should be thoroughly sanitized. “Testers probably told him the bird was safe to eat – if he cooked it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit,” Haslsetine added.

Dr. Larry M. Granger, veterinarian at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services at USDA, noted that this is not a human disease, but a disease of wild birds in North America. “It is important for the public to understand that, even if this turns out to be a detection of high-path H5N1 in wild birds, it does not mean our commercial poultry industry will be affected.

“The U.S. poultry industry is much better positioned to deal with bird flu than are many of the countries currently affected. Our industry is consolidated and chickens, turkeys and eggs produced for human consumption typically are raised in very controlled environments. Bio-security practices have been part of the business of raising poultry in the U.S. for decades. We also are confident that our producers will report any such outbreak because they are aware we will compensate them for the flock if it has to be destroyed.”

Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director for the Centers for Disease Control, emphasized that the presence of H5N1 in a wild bird does not signal a human pandemic. “Avian flu has been transmitted to humans only where there has been [CLOSE?] human contact with an infected bird or its droppings in unsanitary conditions,” Gerberding said. “So far, there has been no indication of human-to-human transmission of this virus. Scientists predict that may change at some point as the virus mutates, but we are not at that point.

“This may be a good time to remind the public to prepare. One of our objectives is to help every State, business and family plan for the unique challenges they would face in an eventual pandemic. There is a world of information on our Pandemicflu.gov website.”

The three departments are united in efforts to inform the public as this avian flu possibly moves into the United Sates. Dr. Haseltine reminded the press that there will be several tests and a wait of from 5 to 10 days before high-path or low-path is confirmed. The pathogenicity determines how deadly the virus is to the birds.

“Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton warned back in March that there may be from 20 to 100 of these reports before we actually have a confirmed high-path H5N1 strain of avian flu in a bird in this country.”

“We intend to share information from our testing with the public and to help the public and the press stay informed whether we are dealing with false alarms or the real thing,” Dr. Granger said.

“Educating yourself and staying informed and prepared is the best defense against a possible eventual outbreak of avian influenza among people,” Dr. Gerberding concluded.

Other Sources of Information:

-DOI-

(The preceding was a fictional account of a briefing for planning purposes only. No birds died in the making of this press release.)

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