VDACS urges people to protect their birds for HPAI virus

Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 5:09 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is seeing cases of the HPAI virus in birds.

“We’ve had six detections of highly-pathogenic avian influenza since February of this year, all have been in what we termed backyard flocks, so not our commercial poultry but in smaller 200 or less birds in the backyard,” Carolynn Bissett with VDACS said. “We’re definitely concerned. We’re still seeing it. Five of those deductions have been since August, so we’re still seeing this, you know, and consider this quite an emergency situation.”

Bissett says HPAI is somewhat seasonal, increasing in the winter around the same time as flu season for humans.

The virus is carried naturally by wild waterfowl. There are preventative measures that bird owners can take to protect their flocks.

“Keeping the birds separated - a physical separation - or some sort of separation from interaction with wild geese, wild ducks, using separate equipment between coops or between species,” Bissett said. “Unfortunately, a lot of what we’re seeing is sudden death.”

Some signs you should keep an eye out for:

  • Lethargy
  • Reduced meat consumption
  • A drop in the egg production
  • Some paralysis

Anyone with a sick bird, or has a question about testing, should call 804-692-0601.

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