On Monday, March 31, 2014, the Palau Ministry of Health was notified that approximately 300 out of 7,000 chickens at PMA Chicken Farm had died over the weekend and that five farm workers with no recent travel history exhibited flu-like symptoms in the past 3 weeks.
The investigation efforts are ongoing and the following actions have been taken by the Palau Ministry of Health:
• Approximately 21 chickens of varying ages tested for Avian flu via rapid test kits were all negative;
• Human blood samples and blood samples from chickens will be sent to the Hawaii State Laboratory for testing;
• Ill farm workers quarantined;
• Facilities of the local distributor of chicken feed will be inspected and samples of chicken feed from there will also be tested;
• The chicken distributor in Hawaii will be contacted and questioned about any additional cases of bird illnesses that they are aware of; and
• All poultry products from PMA Farms recalled
The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) provided needed specimen collection supplies to the Palau Ministry of Health. At present, there is no evidence that the human illness and the chicken illness are connected.
In Guam, there have been no unusual reports of animal diseases from local veterinarians based on weekly surveillance activities of DPHSS. Updates regarding the situation in Palau will be provided as information is received.