Practice biosecurity to avoid avian flu

Spring migration may continue through May

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary and state veterinarian today urged poultry owners to practice good biosecurity measures to keep their flocks safe, following the discovery of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two Tennessee chicken flocks.

“Effective biosecurity plans remain the best protection for Pennsylvania poultry,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Migrating waterfowl may be carrying avian influenza as they fly over Pennsylvania after a winter down south. Flock owners should take extra precautions during migration seasons.”

State Veterinarian Dr. David Wolfgang strongly recommends that all poultry be housed indoors until

the spring migration has ended.

“Right now, we need to prevent any contact between our domestic poultry and any wild birds, especially waterfowl,” said Wolfgang. “After the spring migration is over and the threat to resident domestic poultry is reduced, we will reevaluate the risks and adjust our recommendations, if appropriate.”

Looking ahead to summer fairs and outdoor

festivals, many states already have decided to restrict poultry shows and exhibitions. Pennsylvania officials remain cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor the situation

before deciding whether

the risk for HPAI in Pennsylvania justifies banning birds from such events.

“We ask that local shows or swaps limit participation to birds from Pennsylvania, or allow entries only from neighboring states that are free from HPAI,” Wolfgang added. “Our Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services will closely monitor the situation within Pennsylvania and in neighboring states.”

“If all appears safe by the middle of May, we should be able provide a more definitive answer regarding poultry at fairs in

2017,” said Redding. “We hope that poultry producers and exhibitors will be patient and realize our decisions are based on what

we believe is best for flock owners of all sizes – from those who enjoy raising

and exhibiting backyard chickens to those in the poultry production industry.”

For more information on HPAI, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website.