RALEIGH, N.C. – State Veterinarian Mike Martin announced today that all North Carolina poultry shows, and public sales will be suspended due to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. This includes all exhibitions, farm tours, shows, sales, flea markets, auction markets, swaps and meets pertaining to poultry and feathered fowl in North Carolina. These activities are suspended until further notice.
“This suspension is due to the continued spread of HPAI that has affected commercial and backyard flocks in numerous states, including North Carolina,” said Martin. “We do not make this decision lightly. HPAI is a serious threat to our poultry industry and this is a precaution to help limit the introduction of the virus to backyard and commercial flocks.”
North Carolina joins several other states, including Georgia, that have also cancelled or altered poultry events due to HPAI. Poultry owners across the state need to practice strict biosecurity. This includes keeping flocks indoors without access to outside and reporting sick birds to your local veterinarian, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division, 919-707-3250, or the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System 919-733-3986.
The warning signs of HPAI include:
- Reduced energy, decreased appetite, and/or decreased activity
- Lower egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
- Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles
- Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb and legs
- Difficulty breathing, runny nares (nose), and/or sneezing
- Twisting of the head and neck, stumbling, falling down, tremors and/or circling
- Greenish diarrhea
Since March 29, HPAI has been detected at seven commercial poultry facilities in Johnston and Wayne counties. More than 90,000 turkeys and more than 280,000 broilers have been depopulated and composted on-site to prevent further spread of the virus. Additional updates to the current HPAI outbreak will be posted to www.ncagr.gov/avianflu/
This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. There are no cases to date of this strain of HPAI infecting a person. The virus is also not considered a food safety threat and infected birds do not enter the food supply. All properly cooked poultry products are safe to consume.
More information about High Path Avian Influenza is online at www.ncagr.gov/avianflu.
–Heather Overton, NCDA&CS