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Press Releases

September 1, 2022
HPAI Detected in Backyard Flock in Caroline County, VA
Protect Your Backyard Flock by Practicing Biosecurity
Contact: Michael Wallace

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected in a backyard flock in Woodford, VA on August 30, 2022. The backyard flock, consisting of chickens, ducks, and geese, were pets, not commercial poultry. As part of existing avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in areas around the affected flock.

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

Anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard flock to large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity controls to assure the health of their birds. Implementing solid biosecurity measures can reduce the risk of people, animals, equipment, or vehicles spreading infectious diseases, such as HPAI.

The following checklist is a general guide to practicing biosecurity for your backyard flock:

  • Keep poultry away from wild birds, especially waterfowl and vultures. Put control programs in place for wild birds (including their feces and their feathers), rodents, and insects. Clean and disinfect any poultry equipment before and after use.
  • Protect yourself. Don’t kiss or snuggle with your birds. Remember to wash your hands before and after coming into contact with poultry. If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
  • Limit access to your birds and property.
  • Wear personal protective equipment or clothing and shoes that you only use when caring for your poultry. This includes boot covers or boots that can be disinfected. Change into fresh protective gear between poultry houses or coops. When you’re done, remove and discard your protective gear. If using dedicated clothing and boots, change clothing and clean and disinfect your boots.
  • Clean vehicles, tools, poultry supplies and equipment when moving items around your property.
  • Always practice good biosecurity. Review the 14 National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP)
  • Biosecurity Principles and create a biosecurity plan for your premises.
  • Monitor your flock’s health. Know the signs of disease and check your flock daily for any signs of illness. Quarantine sick birds right away.

Virginia poultry owners should report unusual poultry illnesses or deaths to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 804.692.0601 or at vastatevet@vdacs.virginia.gov or through the USDA’s toll-free number, 866.536.7593.

The USDA APHIS “Defend the Flock” program offers a variety of resources on biosecurity methods and checklists in several different languages.

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