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State ag directors warned of high risk to poultry producers

ARLINGTON, VA.  — After reporting more cases of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on Monday, USDA’s administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) warned state agricultural directors there is a high risk that bird flu will continue to spread and a need to stress tight biosecurity measures to poultry producers.

Kevin Shea, USDA’s administrator for APHIS, spoke about the risks Tuesday and met with state agricultural directors at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) winter policy meeting just outside of Washington, D.C. Shea stressed the importance of tighter biosecurity measures to the ag directors.

“We ask everyone in this room to double-, triple-, quadruple-down on the biosecurity message right now.”

After a commercial turkey flock was reported as infected last week in Indiana, USDA followed up with a report Monday of a commercial broiler flock in Fulton County, Kentucky, and a backyard flock in Fauquier County, Virginia. Dubois County, Indiana, had a 29,000-bird flock test positive Feb. 8 with another similar-sized flock awaiting test results. Tests on another Kentucky flock are pending as well.

Shea said USDA monitoring of wild birds has led to a high volume of cases of the H5N1 strain found among migratory birds this year.

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