Avian flu case found in East Donegal Township, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is on high alert for the avian flu after the first case in nearly four decades was found in Lancaster County over the weekend.The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the state’s first positive case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in domestic poultry, in a flock of commercial layer chickens on a poultry farm in East Donegal Township, Lancaster County. That farm and all commercial poultry facilities in a 10-kilometer radius are quarantined.”Protecting Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry is a year-round top priority,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We have strict biosecurity protocols in place both for Pennsylvania farms and for poultry products shipped in and out of the state. We have had $2 million budgeted and set aside since 2016 to respond to avian influenza, in addition to equipment, supplies, laboratories and highly trained experts who have been on high alert and are supporting our poultry farmers.””There is no immediate public health concern for Pennsylvanians, and we are prepared to respond to this agricultural issue. However, wild birds carry the virus and do not respect property or state lines,” he added. “Anyone visiting a farm should be aware that your vehicles and shoes may carry the virus from other places you have walked. Clean them thoroughly and stay away from poultry barns unless you have to be there. Please be vigilant and do your part to protect our farms.”The Department of Agriculture is expected to provide an update Monday afternoon.Avian flu riskWhile there is no risk to the public, poultry and eggs are safe to eat if cooked properly.HPAI is highly infectious ​and can be fatal to domestic birds (chickens, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl and turkeys).According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States. The positive samples were taken from a flock in East Donegal Township, Lancaster County, and tested at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory. The finding was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. An interagency HPAI task force works regularly to address the threat of disease to Pennsylvania’s wild and domestic bird populations. The task force includes:Pennsylvania Emergency Management AgencyPennsylvania Department of AgriculturePennsylvania Department HealthGeneral Services and Environmental ProtectionPennsylvania State PolicePennsylvania Game CommissionAir National GuardU.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Veterinary Services Wildlife ServicesThe task force will carry out the response plan, which includes education and public outreach, and minimizing risk factors through strict biosecurity measures and continued surveillance, testing and management . This is the first confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Pennsylvania in commercial poultry since an outbreak in 1983 to 1984. As of April 15, 2022, infected birds in commercial and backyard poultry flocks had been confirmed in 27 states including most states surrounding Pennsylvania .

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is on high alert for the avian flu after the first case in nearly four decades was found in Lancaster County over the weekend.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the state’s first positive case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in domestic poultry, in a flock of commercial layer chickens on a poultry farm in East Donegal Township, Lancaster County.

That farm and all commercial poultry facilities in a 10-kilometer radius are quarantined.

“Protecting Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry is a year-round top priority,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We have strict biosecurity protocols in place both for Pennsylvania farms and for poultry products shipped in and out of the state. We have had $2 million budgeted and set aside since 2016 to respond to avian influenza, in addition to equipment, supplies, laboratories and highly trained experts who have been on high alert and are supporting our poultry farmers.”

“There is no immediate public health concern for Pennsylvanians, and we are prepared to respond to this agricultural issue. However, wild birds carry the virus and do not respect property or state lines,” he added. “Anyone visiting a farm should be aware that your vehicles and shoes may carry the virus from other places you have walked. Clean them thoroughly and stay away from poultry barns unless you have to be there. Please be vigilant and do your part to protect our farms.”

The Department of Agriculture is expected to provide an update Monday afternoon.


Avian flu risk

While there is no risk to the public, poultry and eggs are safe to eat if cooked properly.

HPAI is highly infectious ​and can be fatal to domestic birds (chickens, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl and turkeys).

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avian influenza detections do not present an immediate public health concern.

No human cases of avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

The positive samples were taken from a flock in East Donegal Township, Lancaster County, and tested at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory. The finding was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

An interagency HPAI task force works regularly to address the threat of disease to Pennsylvania’s wild and domestic bird populations. The task force includes:

  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
  • Pennsylvania Department Health
  • General Services and Environmental Protection
  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Air National Guard
  • US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Veterinary Services
  • Wildlife Services

The task force will carry out the response plan, which includes education and public outreach, and minimizing risk factors through strict biosecurity measures and continued surveillance, testing and management.

This is the first confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Pennsylvania in commercial poultry since an outbreak in 1983 to 1984.

As of April 15, 2022, infected birds in commercial and backyard poultry flocks had been confirmed in 27 states including most states surrounding Pennsylvania.

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