Take precautions against avian influenza

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) Veterinary Division has been working in conjunction with United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA Wildlife Services and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission tracking the highly pathogenic Eurasian HS Avian Influenza, first identified in wild waterfowl in N.C. on Jan. 16. Well over 100 wild birds have tested positive for HPAI in N.C., and HPAI has been confirmed in 17 commercial poultry farms across seven states, including Indiana, Kentucky, Delaware, Missouri, Maryland, Iowa and South Dakota and confirmed in 10 backyard/independent flocks in seven states, including Virginia, New York, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Connecticut, and Missouri as of March 14. The wild waterfowl populations that have tested positive in N.C. are still wintering in the Carolinas, and the number of domestic poultry flocks testing positive is on the rise. Authorities will continue to monitor the national situation and these wild waterfowl populations. It is strongly recommended that all poultry owners continue to review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds.

Heightened biosecurity practices for domestic poultry are strongly recommended to prevent avian influenza infection. Poultry producers need to take the following measures to protect their flocks:

• Keep all poultry with outdoor access indoors

• Maintain heightened biosecurity protocols

• Monitor flocks for unexplained increased mortality or clinical signs consistent with avian influenza. Report any concerns immediately to your veterinarian, state animal health official or federal animal health official.

NCDA&CS Veterinary Division is extending its strong recommendation to keep all commercial poultry indoors, including organic/free range flocks, for 30 days from March 14. Allowing these flocks to have access to outdoors during this time would put them at increased risk of contracting HPAl. NCDA&CS will continue to monitor this disease threat with our state and federal partners; this recommended time period may be extended.

If you have any questions about protecting your birds, please reach out to Morgan Watts at 704-216-8970 or amwatts@ncsu.edu.

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