Virginia agency stresses biosecurity to protect your flock against avian flu

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 8:04 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - While we look forward to our turkey dinner this Thursday, experts with one state agency are urging bird owners to protect their flocks.

As birds from the north make their migratory path south, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is worried they may be spreading Avian Flu.

It’s called Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or HPAI. First detected in December of last year, VDACS has now confirmed cases in 46 states including Virginia.

Virginia has had six cases, with five of them being detected in just the last few months.

Dr. Carolynn Bissett, the Program Manager at VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services said it was detected in Europe in the last several years, made its way to Canada in December of 2021 and appeared in the United States earlier this year.

Dr. Bissett said the agency is concerned because Virginia is a large poultry producer.

“But of course, if you’re a backyard bird owner, you care for your birds and you may be raising them as pets or you may be raising them for food production and we want to protect them as well,” she said. “So we’re very concerned about this disease right now. We’re seeing a lot of it throughout the united states and as I mentioned previously we are seeing an uptick in Virginia. So we certainly encourage people to do whatever they can to keep their birds safe.”

While Thanksgiving meals don’t seem to be in jeopardy, Dr. Bissett said turkeys are highly susceptible to this disease.

You can learn more about how to protect your flock here.