Biosecurity is Key in Preventing Avian Influenza Spread

9/30/22 Update

The hours for the sample drop-off site around the Lancaster County non-poultry premises are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 10 AM. The address, again, is:

East Lampeter Township Police Department
2250 Old Philadelphia Pike
Lancaster, PA 17602

The York drop-off site for samples taken for surveillance around the quarantined premises in York is:

John O Myers Farm
2228 Dunkard Valley Road
Dallastown, Pa 17313

There are no poultry on site. Thanks to Mr. Myers for offering this location.

Hours of operation start Monday, Oct. 3 and will also be M-F, 8-10 AM.

PDA is asking producers to use the drop-off sites that have been established, rather than bringing the samples directly to the labs for testing. Using the drop-off sites assists with biosecurity, allows the samples to be equitably distributed among the PADLS labs for testing (as all of the labs are experiencing staffing issues), and preserves the capacity within labs to respond to calls for sick birds. PDA also encourages those dropping off samples to do so in a timely fashion, so as not to delay testing reports, given the volume of both HPAI and non-HPAI samples the labs receive each day. All samples that arrive before 8:30 AM will be tested the same day.

PDA reports that it is seeing a resurgence of avian influenza in commercial flocks nationwide and urges the institution of enhanced biosecurity measures on all Pennsylvania farms. Those producers with a need to have their biosecurity plans evaluated should send them to Dr. Nanette Hanshaw, chief of the Animal Health Division at PDA, at nhanshaw@pa.gov.

Those individuals with backyard flocks are urged to “bring their birds in” and avoid putting food out that might attract wild birds, which are helping to spread avian illnesses as they migrate. It is important to educate neighbors with backyard flocks on good biosecurity practices so that they can do their part in controlling the spread of HPAI in Pennsylvania.

9/29/22 Update #1

PDA reports that the small flock for which H5, 2.3.4.4 was reported yesterday in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County has been depopulated. Because the affected flock is defined as “non-poultry” (no product sales), a Control Area with an Infected Zone and Buffer Zone is not required. Therefore, no permitting for movement is required.

PDA is placing a 10 Km Surveillance Zone around the infected premises and, in order to have confidence that the virus has not spread to commercial flocks, has devised a plan for commercial poultry surveillance in the 10 Km zone. If all of the commercial flocks in this zone are tested, PDA believes that it will meet its surveillance goals and should be able to close the zone quickly.

All commercial flocks as defined below should be tested twice; once next week, and once 5-7 days later. Samples can be collected by a CPT or by a trained/certified HPAI Sampler and dropped off at the following location:

East Lampeter Township Police Department
2250 Old Philadelphia Pike
Lancaster, PA 17602

Hours of operation will be provided as soon as possible for next week’s surveillance. Only commercial birds 3 weeks of age and older should be included in the surveillance testing. Testing information is below:

Number of Samples Required for testing Healthy Flocks

*Gallinaceous birds (chickens, turkeys, game birds):

  • Weekly HPAI Surveillance Testing: 22/house for gallinaceous birds (2 tubes/house)

Always swab fresh dead birds first, then sick birds, then healthy birds to get the necessary number of swabs. Label the tubes to indicate which birds are represented. Also label tubes if you are sampling different species so the lab knows which bird type they are testing.

When swabbing gallinaceous species (chickens, turkeys, game birds) swab up to 11 birds per tube of BHI broth, swirl the swabs in the broth, squeeze them against the side of the tube, and remove the swabs from the tube of BHI. Do not leave any swabs in the tube. Dispose of the swabs properly.

*Waterfowl (Cloacal swabs):

  • Weekly Testing: 35/house for waterfowl (7 tubes/house)

Always evaluate fresh dead birds first, then sick birds, then healthy birds to get the necessary number of swabs. Label the tubes to indicate which birds are represented. Also label tubes if you are sampling different species so the lab knows which bird type they are testing.

When swabbing waterfowl, swab up to 5 birds of one species per tube of BHI broth, and leave the swabs in the tube. Break the handles off close to the swab end so the lid can be closed tightly.

Sample Submission

A completed submission form must accompany all samples for testing. The High Path Avian Influenza PCR Submission Form should be used. Please just check the Surveillance Zone (10-20 Km) box for these two weekly tests, along with the “required weekly test” box.

To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, samples should be placed in a clean cooler with ice packs and then handed off at the end of the farm lane to someone who has not been around poultry and is driving a clean vehicle. Samples can be removed from the farm cooler and the driver can place them in a clean cooler kept in the vehicle for delivery. Samples should be taken to a drop-off site (location to be announced before next week) whenever possible to avoid cross-contamination at the labs. Samples delivered to a drop-off site by 10 AM may have same-day PCR results.

If you cannot make it to a drop -off site by the cutoff time, you can contact any of the PADLS labs to make a biosecure drop-off at the lab. If that is not possible, refrigerate your samples for next-day drop-off. When not refrigerated, transport BHI tubes upright on ice packs in a clean cooler.

Commercial flocks are defined as:

  • Layers/layer pullets: Raise 75,000 birds or more
  • Broilers: Raise 100,000 birds/year or more
  • Turkeys: Raise 30,000 birds/year or more
  • Waterfowl, Game birds: Raise 25,000 birds/year or more
  • Breeder flocks: Have 5,000 breeder birds or more
  • Associated with a company ownership or management, regardless of flock size

 

9/29/22 Update #2

PDA has reported a detection of H5, 2.3.4.4 in samples from a commercial turkey flock located in York County, Windsor Township. Depopulation of the flock is beginning this morning. There are three houses on site.  NVSL confirmation is pending. Since this is a commercial flock, PDA is required to put in place a control area and surveillance zone. Permitting for movement is required in the control area.

The PADLS Control Zone Address Checker (link below) will be updated to include this site as soon as NVSL confirms the finding.  An email account will be set up for any biosecurity plans in need of evaluation. A sample drop off site location in York County is being investigated now and the location and hours will be provided before Monday. Samples should be taken to the sample drop off location rather than delivered directly to a PADLS laboratory.

Routine testing of flocks outside of any control area or surveillance zone should be taken to the laboratories as usual, with enhanced biosecurity practices in place. Please report any concerns of #HPAI in a flock to PDA at 717-772-2852, option 1 (24/7).

9/28/22 Update

The Pennsylvania Laboratory & Diagnostic System (PADLS) reports that H5, 2.3.4.4 Avian Influenza has been identified in a small flock in Lancaster County, East Lampeter Township. The flock of approximately 175 birds contains broilers and ducks. The owner reported increased morbidity and mortality in the flock on the previous day, and the flock will be depopulated. This flock is located in a poultry-dense area and plans for surveillance are being developed. Flocks showing signs of AI should be reported to PADLS so samples can be collected for testing, including backyard and non-poultry flocks. Robust biosecurity practices should stay in place, especially the use of clean, dedicated footwear when entering poultry houses. More information will be forthcoming shortly.

9/26/22 Update

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has been notified by the National Wildlife Health Center that HPAI has been identified in several Canadian geese samples submitted last week by the Pennsylvania Game Commission from Griffin Reservoir, Lackawanna County. The birds were apparently showing some neurologic signs before death. PDA has also reported H5, 2.3.4.4 in a wild swan sampled recently in Lancaster County, Manheim Township, which had been euthanized by a private veterinarian due to illness. PDA notes that these occurrences are a reminder that HPAI continues to circulate in wild bird populations, and it appears to be virulent enough to cause serious illness even in wild waterfowl species.

9/22/22 Update

On Sept. 19, the Pennsylvania Diagnostic & Laboratory System (PADLS) reported a preliminary non-negative result of H5, 2.3.4.4 in a mixed free-range backyard flock located in Mt. Pleasant Township, Washington County. The samples were collected in response to a call made due to elevated morbidity and mortality in a flock of approximately 1,500 birds. That result has been confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL). A 10 km control area and 10 km surveillance zone have been placed around the flock, and identification of flocks in the area is taking place for surveillance purposes. The PADLS Control Zone Address Checker is operative and can be accessed below.

The area in question has little to no commercial poultry. The New Jersey rule for live bird market (LBM) birds coming from an HPAI state is again in effect for all of Pennsylvania, which includes a negative 72 hour swab test and a movement permit.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Recovery Reimbursement Grant program

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) administers the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Recovery Reimbursement Grant program “to provide reimbursement to farms, integrators, and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.”

The HPAI Reimbursement Grant program is comprised of two rounds:

Round One

Round one is open “to poultry farmers and integrators and to only those premises located in the 3-kilometer infected zones as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s General Quarantine Order. Round one applications are due by September 10, 2022.”

Round two

Round two “is now open to those who suffered losses in the Control Zones. The second round is open to any business or poultry farm location affected by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s General Quarantine Order. Round two applications are due by October 8, 2022.”

For more information on program guidelines and how to apply, click the following link:

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Recovery Reimbursement Grant

Follow @PFBRegAffairs on Twitter for continuing updates on environmental, food safety, and other regulatory activities affecting Pennsylvania farmers, as well as on Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s efforts to advance the regulatory policy goals set by our members.

Now is the Time to Protect Your Flock Against Avian Flu

Center for Poultry & Livestock Excellence Pennsylvania

HPAI Detected in Northampton County

A case of avian flu has been detected among a backyard flock of ducks and chickens in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County. This is the first case of avian flu detected in Pennsylvania in weeks and is notable because it is the first confirmed case in the state among a noncommercial backyard flock, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). Ducks and chickens in the flock were confirmed to have been infected by a turkey vulture that died on the property. Wild birds are known to be vectors for avian flu infections. As a result of the confirmed case, PDA quarantined the farm and established a 10-kilometer (about 6- mile) control area around the farm. Poultry owners within the control area are subject to testing requirements and must have permits to transport products. Work is also underway to clean and disinfect the farm and safely dispose of potentially infected material. Additionally, anyone within 3 kilometers, or nearly 2 miles, of the infected farm may not transport poultry or egg products. Some parts of New Jersey are also subject to the control area and the state is working in conjunction with New Jersey agriculture officials to identify and notify other poultry and egg producers and backyard bird owners in the area. Backyard bird owners and poultry and egg producers should stay vigilant, especially as wild bird migration season picks up again in the coming weeks, and take the following steps:

  • Practice excellent biosecurity every day.
  • Wear clean clothes and scrub boots or shoes with disinfectant and wash hands before and after contact with animals.
  • Keep equipment and vehicles clean, including all those entering your property.
  • Control birds and rodents who can carry and spread disease.
  • Keep birds inside whenever possible and minimize the chance of contact with wild birds.
  • Clean under barn soffits and eliminate possible entry points for wild birds.
  • Eliminate standing water that might attract wild birds.

If you suspect HPAI in your flock

Call the PDA hotline immediately. Do not move the birds. There is no penalty for calling and testing for surveillance is free. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) emergency number 717-772-2852 (press option 1 to reach the veterinarian on call).

PA State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill urged poultry farmers to follow the guidelines set forth in the 2015 Interstate and General Quarantine Order; Virus Control for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Vehicle, Container and Material Standards. The order lays out steps that poultry facilities can take to prevent HPAI and to help stop the spread of HPAI. The restrictions within the order apply to any conveyance or vehicle, container or material, live or unprocessed goods or products of poultry.

With the recent detections of the HPAI in wild birds and domestic poultry in the United States, bird owners should review their biosecurity practices and stay vigilant to protect poultry from this disease. APHIS has said that it is working closely with state partners on surveillance, reporting, and control efforts.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in birds in multiple states, including Delaware, New York, Maine, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa and Kentucky.

In addition to practicing good biosecurity, the USDA encourages bird owners to prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and asks the bird owners report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state and federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through APHIS’ toll-free number, 1-866-536-7593. APHIS strongly suggests that owners bring birds indoors, when possible, to further prevent exposures.


APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available here.

For more information on confirmed cases and background information on Avian Influenza, click here.

For more information, resources, and the latest developments in the fight against HPAI, go to the Penn State Extension, here.

Minimum Biosecurity Requirements for Feed Mill and Feed Delivery Trucks

April 25, 2022
Penn Ag

 

These biosecurity requirements must be followed if:

  • The feed mill is within a Control Area for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) AND/OR
  • The poultry farm receiving a feed delivery is within a Control Area

FEED MILL:

  • The feed mill must have a wild bird and rodent control program which includes regularly cleaning spilled feed.

PERSONNEL:

  • Feed truck drivers must not enter any poultry house and must remain outside for the connection to the feed bin.
  • Feed truck drivers should not own or interact with birds of any kind, including backyard or pet birds.
  • Drivers must disinfect footwear (e.g., Lysol) prior to entering the truck at the feed mill.
  • Drivers must wear disposable boot covers or disinfect footwear prior to exiting the truck. If wearing disposable boot covers, remove before re-entering the truck. Whether wearing boot covers or not, always disinfect footwear prior to entering truck.
  • Disposable boot covers must be discarded at the farm or feed mill prior to re-entering the vehicle.
  • Hands must be sanitized when entering the truck at farms and feed mill.
  • Interior of truck cabs (e.g., floorboards, pedals, steering wheel, gear shifts, door handle) must be disinfected before leaving the farm and at the feed mill.

FEED DELIVERY TRUCKS:

  • Feed trucks must have a full truck wash with soap and water at least weekly with no organic debris remaining.
  • The undercarriage of feed trucks must be cleaned with soap and water at least daily with no organic debris remaining.
  • Trailer lids on feed delivery trucks must be kept closed except when loading or sweeping after unloading. This minimizes the potential of bird droppings falling into the feed or trailer.
  • A disinfectant* log must be maintained for each truck (see example disinfectant log).
  • Truck and trailer undercarriage disinfection includes complete saturation and at least 2 complete tire rotations or 1 minute of disinfection pump “on” time, using an approved disinfectant effective against Avian Influenza prepared and handled according to product label directions.
    • When exiting the feed mill, the undercarriage of trucks and trailers (including tires, wheel wells, mud flaps and cab entry steps) must be disinfected.
    • When entering poultry farms for feed delivery, the undercarriage of trucks and trailers (including tires, wheel wells, mud flaps and cab entry steps) must be disinfected.
    • When exiting poultry farms, the undercarriage of trucks and trailers (including tires, wheel wells, mud flaps and cab entry steps) must be disinfected.
    • When entering the feed mill, the undercarriage of trucks and trailers (including tires, wheel wells, mud flaps and cab entry steps) must be disinfected.
  • Minimize the delivery of split loads (i.e., delivery to multiple farms without returning to the feed mill).
  • Permitted feed delivery to any infected premises requires a complete cleaning and disinfection of the truck and trailer prior to leaving the premises.

* Disinfectants must be approved and effective against avian influenza

HPAI Control Area Release FAQs

May 20, 2022

What does it mean when a Control Area is released?

A Control Area is established when HPAI is detected in poultry, and it is released when certain conditions are met. Poultry on farms that are not under quarantine and are located outside the remaining Control Areas are no longer subject to movement controls and surveillance testing activities. When a Control Area is released, Pennsylvania producers should check the Control Zone Address Checker to determine if a particular address is still within a Control Area.

Which Control Area(s) have been released?

Information on the Control Areas that have been released and those that remain active can be found on the APHIS HPAI 2022 Confirmed Detections website. It’s important to note that Control Areas associated with neighboring infected farms may overlap with a released Control Area. Any farms located within the overlapping Control Areas are still subject to restrictions until the status changes. You can check the Control Zone Address Checker to determine if a particular address is still subject to restrictions.

Can farms that are now outside a Control Area resume normal farming practices?

Farms that are outside a Control Area are not subject to movement controls and surveillance testing activities unless they are under quarantine. However, all farms, regardless of location, should continue to implement strict biosecurity procedures to help keep birds healthy and stop the spread of HPAI.

Can birds be restocked at infected premises that were within the released Control Area?

Not yet. Before birds can be restocked, the infected premises must meet all requirements of the flock plan, including quarantine release and negative results on environmental testing. They must also be outside the infected zone of another flock.

What does it take to get a Control Area released?

To be released, all infected premises within the Control Area must have completed 100% depopulation and disposal of birds, feed, litter/manure, and eggs in accordance with the flock plan. Initial virus elimination and surveillance testing must also take place. If there are no positive results on surveillance within the Control Area for 14 days after depopulation and virus elimination, the Control Area can be released.

Attachments: Feed Mill Truck Disinfection Log, Minimum Biosecurity Requirements