Maryland: Preliminary Testing Confirms Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Charles County Backyard Flock 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 21, 2024) ~ State officials have confirmed a case of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI) in a backyard flock in Charles County, Maryland. The State Department of Agriculture has taken immediate action by quarantining all affected premises and depopulating the birds to prevent the spread of the disease. The results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory are still pending, with final confirmation expected in the coming days.

According to Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks, this latest case serves as a reminder for all poultry growers and backyard flock owners to remain vigilant against the threat of HPAI, especially as the spring migratory season begins. He emphasizes that regardless of flock size, biosecurity measures are crucial in preventing the spread of this disease among poultry.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can easily spread among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. It can be transmitted through various means such as contact with infected poultry, wild birds, equipment, and even on clothing and shoes. This virus primarily affects chickens, ducks, turkeys, and some wild bird species like ducks, geese, shorebirds, and raptors.

More on Marylandian
The Maryland Department of Health has reassured the public that the risk of transmission between birds and humans is low. However, they recommend taking precautionary measures if HPAI is suspected on personal property or in a commercial operation.

Some common-sense biosecurity steps recommended by the Maryland Department of Agriculture include being aware of signs of illness in birds and reporting any suspected cases to their hotline at 410-841-5810. They also advise keeping visitors to a minimum and providing disposable boot covers or disinfectant footbaths for anyone who needs to come into contact with live poultry.

Other important biosecurity practices include cleaning and disinfecting transportation vehicles before entering areas where waterfowl or other wildlife feces may be present, removing loose feed to prevent wild birds from being attracted to the area, and changing clothes before entering or exiting poultry areas.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture also stresses the importance of cleaning and disinfecting tools and equipment before moving them to a new poultry facility. They advise against reusing items that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected, such as cardboard egg flats.

For more information on avian influenza and biosecurity measures, the public is encouraged to visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture's website. By following these guidelines, we can all do our part in preventing the spread of HPAI and protecting our poultry industry.

Filed Under: Government, State

Show All News | Report Violation


Latest on Marylandian