Backyard bird owners urged to increase biosecurity measures

A strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found in two commercial poultry flocks in Virginia, and officials are urging bird owners to stay vigilant against the virus.

The two cases were discovered in January in commercial turkey flocks in Rockingham County. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and state officials have quarantined the affected areas and are performing additional testing and monitoring in a 6.2-mile radius around the impacted flocks.

As a result of the recent cases, officials are ramping up biosecurity measures on poultry farms and encouraging backyard poultry owners to do the same.

“This virus strain is spread predominantly by wild birds,” said Tony Banks, senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “To the extent possible, backyard flock owners should do everything they can to prevent their poultry’s direct contact with all wild birds, predators and rodents.”

Backyard poultry owners can help mitigate exposure by repairing any holes in fencing, structures, screens and roosting areas that . . . .

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