Action intends to safeguard against avian flu; current avian influenza strains are not a threat to humans

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced that it has issued an order to ban all fowl auctions and other events for the purchase, sale, swap or trade of fowl in the state to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the state’s poultry population.

Commissioner Richard A. Ball issued the order as a result of the continuing spread of strains of HPAI in the United States, including eight detections to date in New York that have resulted in the loss of more than 10,000 birds.

The order expands upon Ball’s previously issued order to ban all live fowl shows and exhibitions in New York. The current HPAI outbreak has impacted 26 states so far and is rapidly expanding nationwide.

“Avian influenza continues to be a growing and serious threat to all poultry and breeds of fowl in the United States, including New York,” Ball said. “This order is an important step to further limit the co-mingling of birds in our state, which will help to slow the spread of this disease, keep our birds healthy, and safeguard our poultry industry. Commonsense steps like these are our best line of defense against this disease.”

As with the previous ban, this ban will remain in effect until further notice. The Department is continuing close monitoring of HPAI in New York and plans to reassess this Notice of Order in late May to determine whether it should remain in place through the summer.

As the HPAI outbreak spreads in other parts of the United States, several additional states have taken the step to ban poultry exhibitions and other gatherings of poultry, including Arkansas, Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Missouri.

HPAI in New York State

To date, eight flocks in New York have tested positive for HPAI, most recently April 6 in a Fulton County flock. HPAI has also been detected in wild birds, including snow geese and wild ducks across the state. The Department is working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on a joint incident response and is also collaborating with partners at the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation. Additionally, Department officials are reaching out to poultry and egg farms across the state to ensure best practices are being implemented and to prepare for potential additional avian influenza cases in New York.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

The detections of HPAI in New York prompt reminders for commercial and hobby poultry farmers to increase their biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of the disease. Poultry owners should keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings. Outdoor access for poultry should be limited at this time.

Additionally, the Department encourages all poultry producers, from small backyard to large commercial operations, to review their biosecurity plans and take precautions to protect their birds. Poultry biosecurity materials and checklists can be found on the USDA’s “Defend the Flock” website. Best practices include:

  • Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission.
  • Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days.
  • Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl.
  • Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear.
  • Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours.
  • Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm.
  • After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm.
  • Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to AGM.

To report sick birds, unexplained high number of deaths or sudden drop in egg production, contact the Department’s Division of Animal Industry at 518.457.3502 or the USDA at 866.536.7593.

By martha

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