Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Department of Agriculture is today reminding all poultry owners – backyard flocks and commercial producers – to be on their toes to protect their birds from highly pathogenic avian influenza. After a weeks-long lull in detections, Pennsylvania has a new confirmed case of bird flu, the first in the state in a non-commercial backyard flock. A duck and chickens from a flock in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, have been confirmed to be infected after a dead turkey vulture was found on the property. Wild birds are known to be the source of infection elsewhere.
Poultry and eggs continue to be safe to eat. Human health is not in danger. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avian influenza does not present an immediate public health problem.
“Northampton County poultry and eggs bring in $141 million in sales to support the county’s economy,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Backyard bird owners should recognize that this disease is deadly to their birds. Protecting their birds helps protect neighboring poultry farms as well as the families and jobs that depend on those businesses.”
The department quarantined the farm and established a control zone around the farm. Control zones are the 10 km perimeter around an infected and quarantined farm. Owners of poultry in control areas are subject to testing requirements and must have permits to transport products. Work is underway to clean and disinfect the farm and safely dispose of potentially infected material.
Anyone within 3 km of the infected holding may not transport poultry or egg products. The Farm Control Area includes part of New Jersey and the department is working with New Jersey agriculture officials to identify and notify other poultry and egg producers and low bird owners. -yard in the area of their responsibilities.
Redding reminded backyard bird owners and poultry and egg producers to stay vigilant, especially as the wild bird migration season resumes in the coming weeks.
- Practice excellent biosecurity on a daily basis.
- Everyone on the farm should wash their clothes, scrub boots or shoes with disinfectant, and wash their hands before and after any contact with animals.
- Keep equipment and vehicles clean, including any that enter your property.
- Control birds and rodents that can carry and spread disease.
- Keep your birds indoors as much as possible and minimize the risk of contact with wild birds.
- Clean under barn soffits and eliminate possible entry points for wild birds.
- Eliminate standing water that could attract wild birds.
For detailed information on biosecurity and protecting your herd, visit the USDA APHIS | Defend the Flock program.
Recognize the symptoms of the disease. Report suspected cases and any unusual deaths to the department at 717-772-2852. A veterinarian is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 610-926-3136 or [email protected]
Last week, Secretary Redding announced details of $25 million in direct assistance to poultry producers to support recovery from the bird flu outbreak. Budget 2022-23 invests an additional $6 million in the PA Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System to meet ongoing testing needs.
For a complete list of confirmed infections in the United States, visit the USDA website, aphis.usda.gov.
To learn more about avian influenza, including whether your farm is within the Control Zone of an Infected Farm, visit the ministry’s website, agriculture.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Schroeder – [email protected]