Avian Influenza found in Franklin county backyard flock

A release from the Ohio Department of Agriculture Wednesday confirmed that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been detected in a backyard chicken flock located in Franklin county. The test samples were confirmed at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service laboratory. According to the release, the virus is highly contagious among birds and can be deadly to flocks in backyards and commercial facilitates.

Authorities have quarantined the area and are maintaining a surveillance zone in a 10-kilometer radius around the infected premises. The impacted livestock will be depopulated to contain the disease. Animals will not enter the food supply.

“Enhanced Biosecurity is the number one preventative measure against avian influenza,” said Dr. Dennis Summers, State Veterinarian in a statement. “HPAI can infect any size flock. We urge all poultry owners to intensify their biosecurity and best management practices.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is carried by waterfowl like ducks, geese and shorebirds and can infect all poultry including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPAI does not present an immediate public health concern.

Producers noticing symptoms or unexpected death in their flocks, reports should be with the Ohio Poultry Association at 614-882-6111 or the Ohio Department of Agriculture 614-728-6220 (during regular business hours) or 888.456.3405 (after hours.)

Biosecurity and best management practices include:

  • Prevent contact with wild birds and waterfowl. Keep birds indoors when possible.
  • Keep visitors to a minimum.Only allow those who care for your poultry to have contact with them and make sure they follow biosecurity principles.
  • Wash your hands before and after contact with live poultry. Use soap and water. If using a hand sanitizer, first remove manure, feathers, and other materials from your hands.
  • Provide disposable boot covers (preferred) and/or disinfectant footbaths for anyone having contact with your flock.If using a footbath, remove all droppings, mud or debris from boots and shoes using a long-handled brush BEFORE stepping in. Always keep it clean.
  • Establish a rodent and pest control program. Deliver, store, and maintain feed, ingredients, bedding, and litter to limit exposure to and contamination from wild animals.
  • Use drinking water sourced from a contained supply (well or municipal system). Do not use surface water for drinking or cleaning.
  • Clean and disinfect tools and equipment before moving them to a new poultry facility.Trucks, tractors, tools, and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected prior to exiting the property. Do not move or reuse anything that cannot be cleaned.
  • Look for signs of illness. Monitor egg production and death loss, discoloration and/or swelling of legs, wattles and combs, labored breathing, reduced feed/water consumption.

If you notice any symptoms or unexpected deaths in your flock, please report them immediately to the Ohio Poultry Association (614.882.6111), or the Ohio Department of Agriculture (regular business hours: 614.728.6220; after hours: 888.456.3405).

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