Pokémon Go, Low Path Avian Influenza, and Seneca Valley Virus

Pokémon Go Safety

By now most of you have heard of the new game, Pokémon Go, where players explore the real world to catch virtual pocket monsters. Many zoos are enjoying new visitors coming through their gates to play the game with a number of facilities launching programs geared towards players, but the game is not without safety risks. Since the game launched earlier this month there have been numerous reports of players getting injured, getting into accidents, trespassing, or becoming victims of crime while playing the game. A number of police departments have released safety tips for players, and we encourage you to see what has been released for your community. To ensure the safety of your visitors, staff, and animals, you may want to consider creating guidelines for players accessing your facility. If you are looking for an example, this guide from Six Flags Great America includes tips for both safety and gameplay, thus improving safety while also welcoming new visitors. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to check the location of “pokéstops” and “gyms” in or around your facility; If you find one of these locations to be inappropriate or pose a safety risk to visitors, staff, or animals you may request its removal.

Low Pathogenic H5 in US
A recent post sent out from the ProMED website (included below) described the detection of LOW pathogenic H5 viruses found in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey during routine surveillance of ‘live-bird’ markets in those states. This is just a reminder that influenza viruses are constantly circulating through avian populations, and they have potential to recombine or mutate into more virulent strains.  Find a checklist on HPAI preparedness here.

Date: Wed 13 Jul 2016
Source: The Poultry Site [edited]

Low-Pathogenic Avian Flu Reported in 3 US States
Low-pathogenic H5 avian influenza has been found in live-bird markets in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

According to CIDRAP, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, the outbreaks were 1st reported in foreign media due to bilateral agreements to report such disease between the US and some trading partners.

CIDRAP said the outbreaks were later confirmed by Joelle Hayden, a public affairs specialist with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who said finding low pathogenic avian influenza isn’t uncommon in backyard flocks and live-bird markets.

Live bird markets mix birds from different areas, offering the opportunity for the bird flu virus to adapt and spread.

Seneca Valley Virus
Recently the swine industry has had an uptick in the number of confirmed cases of Seneca Valley Virus (SVV). The clinical signs of the disease, such as blistering around the snout and coronary band lesions look like SEVERAL very serious diseases such as Foot and Mouth disease. This is a reminder to check in to your State Animal Health official’s web page often. In addition to mentioning diseases of concern for your particular area, the page should tell you whom to contact if suspicious illness is affecting your animals. More information on recent cases can be found here.