A broiler chicken

2022 Avian Influenza Updates

April 01, 2022 Written by Georgie Cartanza, Poultry Extension Agent

 

For the latest information on the current Avian Influenza outbreak, please visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture's resource page:

 

 

 

From the desk of Georgie Cartanza, Poultry Extension Agent

 

April 1, 2022

What can I expect to happen if I think my flock has avian influenza? Check out this resource from the Delaware Department of Agriculture on Avian Influenza: A Typical First 72 Hours.

Please also see our new resource: Leveling Up Poultry Biosecurity: Footwear.

 


 

March 18, 2022

First modification to control order restricting movement and spreading of poultry litter — from the Delaware Department of Agriculture

 




FEBRUARY 23, 2022


USDA announces the confirmation of HPAI in a commercial poultry flock in Delaware

 

This announcement should be of great concern to all poultry owners and those who have contact with poultry.  This is the fifth detection of HPAI in a commercial poultry flock in the United States in 2022.  Over the past several weeks, numerous wild waterfowl have tested positive for HPAI in North and South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire and Florida.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. 

For more information about the announcement, visit their website.

Poultry is raised on both a large and small scale in Delaware.  There are small backyard flocks that produce eggs and meat, some poultry are considered pets and may be used for exhibition. There are larger broiler and egg laying commercial operations. Poultry is a vital part of the Delaware economy.    No matter the size of the operation, bird owners must be diligent in their practice of biosecurity. 

As a poultry grower, following strict biosecurity protocols is the best way you can take steps to protect your flock.  One wild bird dropping contains enough virus to infect 1,000,000 birds.  We cannot control where wild birds defecate but we can take steps to not introduce this virus into the houses.  Some of the suggestions below may seem extraordinary and will pose some inconvenience.  The time taken now to take these extra precautions will reduce risk of infection. 
 

  • Have dedicated shoes for each poultry house.  When walking from one house to another there is the potential for stepping in a wild bird dropping.  Consider using disposable boots for each house during this heightened period of concern.  Use footbaths containing disinfectant.  Shoe wear should be free of organic material.  10 minutes of contact with disinfectant increases the effectiveness of reducing virus on the sole of the shoe wear.

  • Wash and sanitize hands between houses.  I have observed wild bird droppings on poultry house doors.

  • There should be no wild birds within the house.  Make sure bird wire is secure and there are no entry points for birds and rodents to enter the facilities. 

  • Limit the movement of people and equipment as much as possible.  Make sure equipment is clean and free of manure.

  • Clean bin pads so they are free of feed.  Feed in or around the poultry house attracts wild birds and rodents. Both are vectors for disease/virus transmission.

  • Proper Composting.  Follow the “recipe” for composting mortality properly.  Mortality should be completely covered.  No wild birds or animals should have access to the composting material.  If a farm is experiencing issues with wild birds or animals gaining access to compost, bird wire and a gate can be added to restrict access.  For examples or more information, please contact me.

  • For hunters who may have contact with wild birds; prior to having contact with any poultry should shower and wear clean clothes and footwear.  Any items in contact with a wild bird should be cleaned and disinfected (cell phone, jacket, glasses, gloves, vehicle, inside and outside etc.).  If possible, it would be best for this individual to not enter the poultry house for 48 hours. 

  • Discourage wild birds from the areas surrounding farm ponds/ drainage areas:  Install bird deterrent devices: spikes, noise makers, fake predators, chemical deterrents.

  • Keep houses closed between flocks to reduce chances of wild birds entering the house.  Starlings, songbirds, vultures can be carriers of avian influenza and not show disease signs.  Consider hanging a bird deterrent in the doorway while doors are open.

 

Stay informed and up to date as this situation develops. These websites offer additional information:

 

 What to expect if you suspect, the response process, and indemnity


 

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The efforts we make today can limit our exposure to risk.  Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.


Georgie Cartanza

Poultry Extension Agent         

University of Delaware

cartanza@udel.edu

302-632-3173

 

 


 

FEBRUARY 18, 2022

 

Attention Poultry Growers:                                     


At the time of writing this letter (February 8, 2022) there were 90 plus confirmed H5 avian influenza samples from wild birds (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and eastern shore of Maryland.)

“APHIS collects and tests large numbers of samples from wild birds in the North American flyways. It is not uncommon to detect avian influenza in wild birds, as these viruses circulate freely in those populations without the birds appearing sick. The recent detections of this strain of Eurasian H5 avian influenza in wild birds serve as an early warning system for bird owners in the U.S. to review and stay vigilant about their biosecurity practices to protect poultry and pet birds from avian influenza.” Find more information and updates at the APHIS website.

As a poultry grower, following strict biosecurity protocols is the best way you can take steps to protect your flock.  One wild bird dropping contains enough virus to infect 1,000,000 birds.  We cannot control where wild birds defecate but we can take steps to not introduce this virus into the houses.  Some of the suggestions below may seem extraordinary and will pose some inconvenience.  The time taken now to take these extra precautions will reduce risk of infection:
 

  • Have dedicated shoes for each poultry house.  When walking from one house to another there is the potential for stepping in a wild bird dropping.  Consider using disposable boots for each house during this heightened period of concern.  Use footbaths containing disinfectant.  Shoe wear should be free of organic material.  10 minutes of contact with disinfectant increases the effectiveness of reducing virus on the sole of the shoe wear.

  • Wash and sanitize hands between houses.  I have observed wild bird droppings on poultry house doors.

  • There should be no wild birds within the house.  Make sure bird wire is secure and there are no entry points for birds and rodents to enter the facilities. 

  • Limit the movement of people and equipment as much as possible.  Make sure equipment is clean and free of manure.

  • Clean bin pads so they are free of feed.  Feed in or around the poultry house attracts wild birds and rodents. Both are vectors for disease/virus transmission.

  • Proper Composting.  Follow the “recipe” for composting mortality properly.  Mortality should be completely covered.  No wild birds or animals should have access to the composting material.  If a farm is experiencing issues with wild birds or animals gaining access to compost, bird wire and a gate can be added to restrict access.  For examples or more information, please contact me.

  • For hunters who may have contact with wild birds; prior to having contact with any poultry should shower and wear clean clothes and footwear.  Any items in contact with a wild bird should be cleaned and disinfected (cell phone, jacket, glasses, gloves, vehicle, inside and outside etc.).  If possible, it would be best for this individual to not enter the poultry house for 48 hours. 


Between December 2014 and June 2015, the United States experienced its worse avian influenza outbreak.  More than 50 million chickens and turkeys died of highly pathogenic avian influenza ($3.3 billion in direct production losses plus an additional $610 million in federal government expenditures). 

Below I have included some additional links to websites from USDA APHIS, University of Maryland, and Delaware Department of Agriculture. There are videos about biosecurity in multiple languages. This link explains more about avian influenza and what was learned from the 2015 outbreak in the Midwest.  
 

 

Please take extra precautions and implement the highest levels of biosecurity to protect the wellbeing of our poultry.  If I can be of any assistance, please contact me at (302)632-3173 or cartanza@udel.edu.

 

Sincerely,

Georgie Cartanza                                                                                                                      

Poultry Extension Agent                                                                                                           

University of Delaware

 


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