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Friday, January 15th, 2021

Pennsylvania urges implementation of Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza biosecurity

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Pennsylvania state officials are encouraging the poultry industry to expedite biosecurity practices in the wake of East Asia and Europe reporting Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases.

“Written biosecurity plans are good, but they are only effective when deliberately acted upon day in and day out by you and every farm-hand,” State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill said. “When practical biosecurity practices are implemented, they not only safeguard your farm and your flock from high consequence disease but may enhance the productivity and long-term sustainability of your farm.”

HPAI is reported to be circulating in East Asia and Europe, with officials indicating Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, and Japan are among the impacted nations.

The state recommends poultry producers limit exposure of poultry to wild birds through confinement rearing and other biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of the introduction of avian influenza virus from wild birds. The practices are key to decreasing the risk of circulating strains of Avian Influenza from evolving into highly pathogenic forms.

Biosecurity initiatives should include, per officials, allowing only essential personnel to access your property and your birds; disinfecting any vehicles that enter your farm; refraining from lending or borrowing equipment from other farms; avoiding contact with other poultry; and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the bird area.

“Don’t wait for tomorrow – take steps today to prevent catastrophic loss of flock and your livelihood,” Brightbill said. “Review your biosecurity plans, strengthen them, and retrain your farmhands by working with your herd or flock veterinarian.”