WARREN COUNTY, NJ – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) have confirmed a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) case in a non-commercial backyard poultry flock in Northampton County in Pennsylvania, near its eastern border that will affect Warren County due to the control area radius.
The disease response is being coordinated between the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA), the PDA, and federal partners.
The test samples collected from a duck and chickens at the Pennsylvania farm were confirmed positive at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory on August 11, officials said.
Warren County is affected as it falls within the 3 km quarantine, 10 km control and 20 km surveillance areas around the quarantined and infected farm. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s link for poultry owners to see if they are in the control zones can be found at https://bit.ly/3vYeNkt.
Poultry owners 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 farm may not transport any poultry or egg products. The NJDA and PDA are working together to identify and notify other poultry and egg producers and backyard bird owners in the area of their responsibilities.
HPAI is highly contagious and often fatal in domestic poultry species. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. As a reminder, poultry and eggs’ proper handling and cooking to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kill bacteria and viruses.
Signs of HPAI in poultry can include:
- Sudden death
- Decrease in feed or water consumption
- Respiratory signs such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge
- Swelling around the eyes
- Open-mouth breathing
- Darkening of the comb/wattles
- Reddening of the shanks or feet
- Decreased egg production
HPAI spreads through contact with bodily secretions, including feces, ocular, nasal, or oral secretions from infected birds. The virus can spread on vehicles, equipment, shoes, etc. Practicing good biosecurity can help prevent the spread of HPAI onto a farm.
Those biosecurity practices include:
- Eliminating exposure of domestic birds to wild birds. Minimizing standing water and extra feed in the environment that might attract wild birds.
- Avoiding contact with other poultry.
- Keeping a specific set of shoes and clothing for tending to poultry. Disposable boot covers or a foot bath that is changed regularly are other measures that can be used.
- Minimizing the number of people who visit the birds.
- Avoiding sharing equipment with other flocks and using appropriate disinfectants for equipment that must come onto a farm.
HPAI is a reportable disease and any individual who shall gain knowledge or suspect the existence of the disease shall notify this office without delay. Deceased birds suspected of having Avian Influenza should be double-bagged and stored appropriately for testing. Do not expose dead poultry to the environment, other poultry, or wildlife/wild birds. Wash your hands after handling sick or dead birds.
If you suspect HPAI, please alert the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at 609-671-6400.