Avian Influenza Identified in Wildlife in Venango County
Rep. Lee James office today released and spread around on social media something for those who own chickens to be aware of happening in our backyard.
According to the release five Merganser ducks found around Kahle Lake died from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI H5N1).
The birds were tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa and they confirmed the presence of the virus
Jame's warning urged backyard chicken owners to protect their flocks and sent out three informational flyers to help.
(Click on flyers to enlarge.)
“HPAI is a dangerous transmissible disease of poultry and has been identified in commercial poultry flocks in 10 states since early February, some of which border Pennsylvania,” said James in the release. “Migratory birds can carry the disease and spread it to both backyard poultry as well as the commercial poultry industry. Since there is no cure, depopulation is the only solution. We must remain vigilant to protect Pennsylvania’s multi-billion dollar commercial poultry industry.”
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), the symptoms of Avian Influenza include:
• Unexplained sudden death.
• Swelling of head.
• Purple discoloration of comb and wattles.
• Sudden drop of feed and water consumption.
• Lethargy and depression.
HPAI is transmitted through contact with fecal matter from wild birds, infected birds, contaminated equipment, and contaminated boots and clothing.
In order to protect flocks from the disease, backyard chicken owners should:
• Keep poultry inside their coop to avoid contact with wild birds.
• Remove birdhouses and feeders used by wild birds.
• Wear dedicated footwear and clothing to work with birds.
• Wash hands before and after working with birds.
• Clean and disinfect equipment in contact with birds.
• Limit visitors to the premises.
Anyone who witnesses unexplained illness or death within their flock should contact PDA at 717-772-2852. Pennsylvanians can assist with HPAI surveillance efforts by reporting any sick or dead wild birds to the Game Commission by calling 610-926-3136 or emailing email@example.com. Any sick or dead domestic birds should be reported to PDA at 717-772-2852.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is safe to eat poultry and eggs when they are properly handled and thoroughly cooked. The CDC mentions that the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI viruses. This means that over-easy and sunny side up eggs should be avoided.
Also, people should not consume meat or eggs from poultry that are sick.
NOTE: According to the CDC the commonly referred to Bird Flu poses low risk to humans, but is more of a risk to those who own poultry and are more exposed to sick birds. But the virus is very contagious to poultry and fowl.