HARRISBURG, Pa. — The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a flock of commercial layer chickens in Cecil County, Maryland. According to APHIS, depopulation across the U.S. due to HPAI so far has included more than 275,000 commercial turkeys, 2.6 million commercial broilers or layer chickens, 1.8 million of which are located on two premises located on the Pennsylvania border and in adjoining counites of Delaware (New Castle) and Maryland (Cecil) which border Lancaster and Chester Counties.
During a recent call with stakeholders organized by PennAg, PA State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill urged poultry farmers to follow the guidelines set forth in the 2015 Interstate and General Quarantine Order; Virus Control for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Vehicle, Container and Material Standards. The order lays out steps that poultry facilities can take to prevent HPAI and to help stop the spread of HPAI. The restrictions within the order apply to any conveyance or vehicle, container or material, live or unprocessed goods or products of poultry.
Dr. Brightbill also said that calls to the department to report signs of HPAI have increased in recent weeks, though no cases have been detected within the state yet. He also warned that despite no detections, “I still firmly believe it is only a matter of time before we see our first infected flock in Pennsylvania.”
With the recent detections of the HPAI in wild birds and domestic poultry in the United States, bird owners should review their biosecurity practices and stay vigilant to protect poultry from this disease. APHIS has said that it is working closely with state partners on surveillance, reporting, and control efforts.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in birds in multiple states, including Delaware, New York, Maine, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa and Kentucky.
In addition to practicing good biosecurity, the USDA encourages bird owners to prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and asks the bird owners report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state and federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through APHIS’ toll-free number, 1-866-536-7593. APHIS strongly suggests that owners bring birds indoors, when possible, to further prevent exposures.
APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available here.
For more information on confirmed cases and background information on Avian Influenza, click here.
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau