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What you need to know about bird flu

The State Department has identified the state’s first positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a herd of commercial poultry.

The Associated Press said on Saturday that positive samples were found in a herd of commercial layered chickens at a poultry farm in East Danegor Township, Lancaster County. Quarantine is carried out on farms and commercial poultry facilities within a radius of approximately 6 miles from the infected herd.

The ministry said this was the first confirmed case of commercial poultry in the state since it occurred between 1983 and 1984.

As of Friday, the ministry said 20 birds had been identified in 27 states, including most of the states around Pennsylvania, infected with herds of commercial and backyard poultry.

In a release published Wednesday, poultry experts at Pennsylvania State Agricultural Sciences and Pennsylvania State University can do to reduce the risk of spread, potential impact on the poultry industry, poultry producers and herd owners. , And there are threats to food safety and human health.

Q: Q: What Causes Bird Flu?

A: A: According to USDA, bird flu is caused by influenza A virus, which can infect poultry and wild birds such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants and quail, especially waterfowl, seagulls and gypsum flies.

Avian influenza virus strains differ in their ability to cause pathogenicity or disease. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strains are highly infectious, often deadly to poultry, and can spread rapidly from flock to flock. On the other hand, low-pathogenic, or “low-route” bird flu, can infect poultry and show no signs of mild or disease. Both high-pass and low-pass viruses can be carried by migratory birds, which are often asymptomatic for infection.

Q: Q: What are the signs of disease in poultry infected with bird flu?

A: A: Low-route bird flu-infected birds may show signs of respiratory illness (coughing and sneezing), decreased egg production, and other mild symptoms. However, birds infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza become severe and acutely ill, says Gino Lorenzoni, assistant professor of poultry science and bird health.

“You may see an unexplained sudden death among the birds in your flock, and that may be the first and only sign you notice,” Lorenzoni said. “Other possible symptoms are swelling of the tissues of the head and face, purple discoloration of the comb and wattle, sudden drop in feed and water consumption, diarrhea and lethargy.”

Q: Q: What is the risk of bird flu?

A: A: According to the State Department, Pennsylvania’s poultry industry, the state’s second-largest agricultural sector, is worth more than $ 7.1 billion annually. Pennsylvania ranks fourth in egg production, and Lancaster County is one of the top four counties in the country for poultry and egg sales. In addition, breeding herds of poultry in small backyards has become increasingly popular in recent years.

The 2014-15 massive HPAI outbreak affecting the Midwest and West Coast had an economic impact on the U.S. economy of approximately $ 3.3 billion, with more than 50 million chickens and turkeys, primarily in the upper Midwest. Died.

Q: Q: Is this strain of bird flu a threat to human health?

A: A: According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Eurasian strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, which has recently caused an outbreak of HPAI in the United States, has shown a low risk to public health.No human case of this virus has been detected in the United States

Q: Q: Can I get bird flu by eating poultry or eggs?

A: A: no. Poultry and eggs that are properly cooked and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees can be safely eaten. Proper treatment, handling and cooking of poultry provides protection from viruses and bacteria, including bird flu.

Q: Q: How can I protect my birds from getting the bird flu?

A: A: Follow common biosecurity practices to isolate your herd from other birds, advising John Bonnie, assistant professor of poultry science and leader of the poultry team at Penn State University.

“In particular, keep birds away from contact with wild waterfowl such as ducks and geese, seagulls and terns, or their dung,” he said. “Also keep poultry away from the water sources where these wild birds gather.”

Other recommendations:

• Immediately clean up spilled feed to keep wild birds out of the premises.

• Limit visitors to only those that are essential to your business. Make sure all visitors follow your biosecurity plan.

• To minimize the possibility of virus spread, wear special shoes and clothing when servicing poultry.

• Disinfect boots, hands and tools before entering the herd grounds.

• Clean and disinfect equipment that comes into contact with birds.

Q: Q: What happens if HPAI is detected in poultry?

A: A: If HPAI is detected in a herd of poultry, the state’s agricultural sector will begin quarantine the infected poultry facility. Agricultural personnel oversee depopulation, disposal and cleaning activities on the premises.

All birds in the flock that have not yet died from the viral infection can be cataloged for compensation purposes and euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease. Carcasses are often composted on-site to kill pathogens prior to disposal, after which the poultry house is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Authorities regularly test other herds in controlled areas within a few miles of the infected facility to detect new infections. Bringing new birds to start the next herd once the conditions for terminating on-site quarantine, including test results showing that there is no viable avian influenza virus in the environment, are met. I can.

Q: Q: Do homeowners need to worry about birds flocking to the backyard bait box?

A: A: So far, Pennsylvania residents have not been advised to remove bird feeders in the backyard unless they are near a herd of poultry.

Justin Brown, a wildlife veterinarian and assistant professor of veterinary science at Pennsylvania State University, said: state.

“Songbirds can be infected with these viruses, but at a much lower risk than other bird groups such as waterfowl and scavengers,” he said. “Therefore, bird feeding is unlikely to be a significant risk factor for this disease. Still, residents are aware that this guidance can change rapidly as the situation progresses. is needed.”

Residents should refrain from feeding ducks, geese and other waterfowl in public parks, nature reserves and other areas where these birds gather, Martin said.

“Feeding ducks in your local park may discourage them from continuing their travel route,” he said. “The longer they get stuck, the more likely they are to get the bird flu and spread.”

Q: Q: How do I report a suspected case of bird flu?

A: A: If you suspect HPAI in the herd, call the Department of State 717-772-2852 (24 hours a day, select option 1 and contact your vet) or the USDA Healthy Bird Hotline (866-536-7593). please.

Q: Q: Where can I learn more?

A: A: Visit the Pennsylvania State University Bird Flu website. extension.psu.edu / avian-influenza.

What you need to know about bird flu

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