Avian influenza back in the Atlantic flyways and being found in wild birds along the East Coast. Poultry farmers and owners urged to be vigilant with biosecurity protocols with their birds.

by | Dec 6, 2023

Summary: Nationally and along the East Coast, we are seeing the re-emergence of avian influenza in the wild bird population. Because of the threat this presents to our poultry industry, we urge producers to maintain heightened biosecurity protocols to protect their birds from contact with potentially infected wild birds.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis

 

  • We recently sent a letter to poultry producers in the state advising them of the latest updates on high pathogenic avian influenza findings in the wild bird population and advising them to practice good biosecurity at their farms and with any backyard flocks.

    Our Veterinary Division is working in conjunction with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and its Wildlife Services, plus the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in tracking the highly pathogenic Eurasian H5N1 avian influenza that was first identified in wild waterfowl in NC back on January 16, 2022.

  • We do NOT have any active cases in commercial poultry folks today, if you will recall, HPAI was confirmed in 9 commercial poultry farms in NC in the months of March and April 2022 resulting in the loss of nearly ½ million birds.
  • For background, between October 2022 and May 2023, we had seven positive backyard/independent flock in five counties.
  • Black Vultures were closely associated with 6 of the 7 backyard/independent flocks that tested positive for HPAI.
  • Nationally, we have had a surge of cases in the US since the beginning of October and we have been closely monitoring these cases across the US.
  • Within the past two-weeks, positive cases have been identified in domesticated poultry flocks in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland suggesting that the virus is currently circulating in the Atlantic Americas flyway.
  • We know the HPAI virus is still in our resident wild bird populations and likely migratory waterfowl.
  • I cannot stress enough that 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 against avian influenza infection.
  • We are advising poultry producers to take the following measures to protect their flocks:
  • Prevent exposure to wild birds as best as possible
  • 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
  • Broilers are our No. 1 commodity in the state, turkeys are our third largest commodity and chicken eggs are our seventh largest commodity.
  • The cash receipts alone for these three commodities is over $7.6 billion, so it is critically important we remain active in our efforts to protect poultry.
  • NCDA&CS will continue to monitor this disease threat with our state and federal partners.