North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
RALEIGH — State Veterinarian Mike Martin has announced that all North Carolina poultry shows and public sales will be suspended due to the threat of highly pathogenic avian flu. This includes all exhibits, farm tours, shows, sales, flea markets, auctions, trades, and get-togethers pertaining to poultry and feathered poultry in North Carolina. These activities are suspended until further notice.
“This suspension is due to the continued spread of HPAI which has affected commercial and backyard flocks in many states, including North Carolina,” Martin said. “We do not take 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 into backyard and commercial flocks.
North Carolina joins several other states, including Georgia, that have also canceled or modified poultry events due to HPAI. Poultry owners statewide must practice strict biosecurity. This includes keeping flocks indoors with no outdoor access and reporting sick birds to your local veterinarian, the Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at 919 -707-3250, or the North Carolina Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System at 919-733-3986.
Warning signs of HPAI include:
- Decreased energy, decreased appetite and/or decreased activity
- Decreased egg production and/or soft-shelled or deformed eggs
- Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and wattles
- Purple discoloration of wattles, comb and legs
- Difficulty breathing, runny nostrils (nose) and/or sneezing
- Head and neck twisting, tripping, falling, shaking and/or whirling
- Greenish diarrhea
Since March 29, HPAI has been detected in nine commercial poultry facilities in Johnston and Wayne counties. Over 90,000 turkeys and over 280,000 broiler chickens have been depopulated and composted on site to prevent the spread of the virus. Additional updates on the current HPAI outbreak will be posted at www.ncagr.gov/avianflu/newsroom.htm.
This type of HPAI virus is considered a low risk to people according to the United States 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 threat to food security and infected birds do not enter the food supply. All properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.
More information on highly pathological avian influenza is available online at www.ncagr.gov/avianflu.