Consumer services

Virginia poultry owners alerted to recent bird flu cases

(WDBJ) – The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is advising Virginia poultry owners to practice biosecurity after “highly pathogenic Eurasian (HPA) avian influenza H5N1 was discovered in wild waterfowl in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The cases were confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These are the first cases found in wild birds in the United States since 2016.

“All poultry owners should take practical biosecurity measures to protect their birds from avian influenza. Biosecurity measures include preventing exposure of poultry to areas where wild birds are present and being vigilant not to bring infectious material from wild birds into contact with poultry,” the state veterinarian added. of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Dr. Charlie Broaddus.

“Anyone involved in poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. Biosecurity information including videos, checklists and a toolkit are available at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-flock-program /dtf-resources/dtf -Resources. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

Since wild birds can be infected with these viruses without appearing sick, people should minimize direct contact with wild birds by using gloves. In case of contact, wash hands with soap and water and change clothes before contact with healthy poultry and domestic birds. Hunters should dress game birds whenever possible and practice good biosecurity to prevent any potential spread of disease. Hunters can find additional biosecurity information at www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2015/fsc_hpai_hunters.pdf. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to the general public of HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human infections with the Eurasian H5 virus have occurred in the United States. Proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165°F kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI. Although the CDC considers this type of HPAI virus to be a low risk to humans, it poses a serious threat to poultry farms and owners of small flocks.

In addition to practicing biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the Office of the State Veterinarian at (804) 692-0601 or at [email protected] or via the USDA Toll-Free Number, (866) 536-7593.

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