HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) announced today that it is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on a joint incident response after confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in New London County.
Avian influenza does not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of this particular strain of avian influenza virus have been detected in the United States. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent detections of this strain of influenza in birds in Connecticut and several other states present a low risk to the public.
Connecticut State Veterinarian Dr. Jane Lewis said that samples were sent to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab (CVMDL) for testing. The results from CVMDL were then confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
CT DoAg animal health officials have quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property have been depopulated to prevent further disease spread. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. Per USDA guidance, CT DoAg has established a 10-kilometer surveillance zone around the detected property to monitor area flocks.
This announcement is a reminder for those involved in poultry production to increase biosecurity measures to prevent their flocks from becoming infected. All poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, should review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website. Best practices include:
- Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
- Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
- Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
- Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
- Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
- Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
- After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
- Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to CT DoAg at 860-713-2505 or email@example.com.
In addition to practicing good biosecurity, poultry owners should keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings. Outdoor access for poultry should be limited at this time.
To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths, or sudden drop in egg production, please contact Connecticut State Veterinarian at 860-713-2505 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the USDA at 866-536-7593.
Connecticut ranks first in New England for egg production and has a very diverse poultry industry.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
–Connecticut Department of Agriculture