Cases of bird flu are a cause for concern

Texas A&M AgriLife Experts Want Commercial and Homesteaders Across the State to Know About Growing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detections in the US

Backyard chicken producers need to be vigilant with biosecurity measures to mitigate the effects of the highly pathogenic bird flu that has so far been detected in seven states. (photo Texas A&M AgriLife, Laura Mackenzie)

February 14 c U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Animal and Plant Health Service, APHIS, confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in birds in two states – a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Fulton County, Kentucky, and a backyard bird of mixed species in Fockie County, Virginia. The avian influenza pathogen has been found in seven states, including Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana and Maryland.

APHIS works closely with government animal welfare officials in Kentucky and Virginia on joint responses to incidents. Government officials have quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property will be evicted to prevent the spread of the disease.

These outbreaks came after the initial report of bird flu in a turkey operation in Indiana on February 9th. Another case of spread was reported on a separate turkey farm in Indiana on 16 February. A positive finding in Maryland was in wild waterfowl.

Avian influenza does not threaten humans, but poultry producers should be wary

According to US Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthese are findings of bird flu do not pose a direct public health concern. No cases of bird flu have been reported in the United States

Tom Hargrove, DVM, Ph.D., Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service A veterinary specialist, Bryan-College Station, said these outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza pathogen should alert commercial and homestead growers.

“Commercial growers know the routine, and they may need to be a little more attentive to their activities and biosecurity protocols, but the backyard grower is a real concern because there are more risks in these flocks,” he said. “Therefore, they need to be very attentive to their activities and interactions with wild birds as well as quarantine new birds before they introduce them to livestock. They must also report any sudden deaths AgriLife Extension Agents or contact Texas Animal Health Commission directly. “

The Texas Animal Health Commission, TAHC, has published Animal health notice encouraging bird owners and birds to enhance biosecurity to protect against highly pathogenic avian influenza.

TAHC is watching The situation with HPAI in 2022 closely and focus on working with other agencies to spread information about the disease and prevention methods now before this bird flu gets closer to Texas.

Other TAHC resources include bird health web page, animal health notices and on social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Manufacturers should strengthen biosecurity measures to avoid proliferation

APHIS Materials about biosafety, including videos, checklists and a set of tools available to help growers reduce the risk of infection in their herds.

Hairgrove said some basic backyard biosecurity tips include:

– Securing poultry from the intrusion of wild birds, domestic animals and livestock.

– Restriction of visitors to houses and chicken coops, especially without thorough disinfection.

– Allocation of special clothing and footwear or rubber boots for exclusive use in poultry houses.

– Wash and disinfect any common equipment such as scales, feeders and drinking bowls.

– Launch of rodent and insect control programs.

– Purchase of birds from sources where they have been tested for disease.

For more information on bird flu and biosafety practices, visit the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Poultry Science page:

Hairgrove said a positive test for waterfowl in Maryland should remind backyard growers to avoid contact with wild birds.

“Any type of treatment of wild birds by producers or their children leaves the possibility of spreading the disease to livestock,” he said. “It’s also possible to put the pathogen on clothes or shoes, so they really need to be careful and strictly follow their biosafety protocols, especially with this type of bird flu and the amount of birds moving at this time of year.”

Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is conducting testing

The Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic LaboratoryTVMDL, is part of National Network of Animal Health Laboratoriesand is able to test for avian influenza viruses using nationally approved rapid molecular analyzes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and government are well versed in exercises to control bird flu and are working to contain it, as in previous years, said Kirill Dimitrov, DVM, Ph.D., assistant director of the TVMled-based Microbiology and Research Agency. .

Dimitrov said TVMDL is conducting testing as part of this Animal and Plant Health Service wild bird surveillance for bird flu in the Mississippi and Central Flight Routes.

He said, as Haggrove mentioned, flocks in backyards are very important and herd owners should be aware of the subject and know about biosecurity regimes on their premises.

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