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VDACS News Releases
April 23, 2021
State Veterinarian Encourages Livestock and Poultry Exhibitors and Show Managers to Practice Biosecurity
Contact: Michael Wallace
As in-person poultry and livestock shows and events begin to resume, Dr. Charlie Broaddus, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), reminds livestock and poultry owners and show managers that there is the potential for animal disease spread when animals are commingled. “Anytime animals are co-mingled at events, there is a risk they may be exposed to an infectious disease agent. Foot and Mouth Disease of livestock, Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy of horses, Avian Influenza of poultry and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) of pigs are all examples of diseases that can spread quickly,” said Dr. Broaddus. “Practicing and implementing sound biosecurity measures is critical in keeping the state’s animals disease-free and marketable. I encourage every person involved in showing livestock to enhance their biosecurity efforts.”
The PED virus is highly contagious and commonly spreads through pig manure. Consuming pork continues to be safe and the disease does not affect humans but is often deadly to piglets.
Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy is another highly contagious disease that has caused severe neurologic signs and death at multiple equine events across the country recently.
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious virus that can infect poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Highly Pathogenic or "high path" Avian Influenza is often fatal in chickens and turkeys.
Implementing sound biosecurity measures and advanced planning can reduce the chances of spreading an infectious disease by people, animals, shoes and clothing or equipment. Show managers should have a proper biosecurity plan ready to execute in the event that an animal disease is introduced at a major stock show or event. VDACS offers the following guidelines to help minimize risk at events where animals co-mingle. These general recommendations also apply to diseases that can be spread between humans and animals.
Biosecurity for animal exhibitors:
Biosecurity for event organizers:
"Implementing simple biosecurity measures to prevent disease spread and having an established plan of action to address disease outbreaks if they occur protects that experience for the public, exhibitors, event managers and animals alike,” said Dr. Broaddus. "In addition, participants and organizers of horse and other livestock show activities should adhere to the guidelines of Governor Ralph Northam’s amended Executive Order Seventy-Two when attending horse and other livestock shows.”
For more information about biosecurity measures and plans, contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 804.692.0601 or your local Office of Veterinary Services at the Regional Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in your area. See the Laboratory Services section of the VDACS website for local numbers.
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