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Delaware DA's Avian Influenza Update

by 5m Editor
11 February 2004, at 12:00am

US - A statement from Michael T. Scuse, Secretary of Agriculture regarding the second case of AI in Delaware.

Delaware DA's Avian Influenza Update - US - A statement from Michael T. Scuse, Secretary of Agriculture regarding the second case of AI in Delaware.

Despite our aggressive measures to contain the outbreak of Avian Influenza in Delaware, this morning officials from the University of Delaware Lasher Laboratory notified me that a second poultry farm has tested positive for avian influenza. We are very fortunate to have a lab of this caliber in Delaware. They have been able to supply us with results in a very timely manner which enables us to react quickly to the situation. The H7-type of avian influenza, believed to be the same strain first reported last Friday, was found in a commercial flock of roaster chickens in northern Sussex County.

I am as surprised as many of you are by this recent turn of events because the new outbreak is located more than 5 miles from the first point of infection. The tests results I received yesterday showed that all 20 farms within a two-mile radius of the original infected farm were negative for avian influenza. At this time we can not explain how the virus appeared so far outside our original containment zone.

The new avian influenza infection was discovered after a flock supervisor took sickly chickens to the Lasher Lab for a determination of illness. At 1:30 this afternoon, officials began depopulating the 73,800 birds in the three chicken houses on the newly infected farm. As with the previous incidence, the birds will be composted in their chicken houses.

Today we DID learn that the EXACT strain of virus from the first site was H7N2. According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, there is no history of risk to humans with this particular strain. Nor does this strain in any way affect the safety of eating Delmarva Poultry.

I would like to once again describe the aggressive containment procedures we are implementing across the Delmarva Peninsula to eradicate this incidence of avian influenza.

There are more than 75 farms within 6 miles of the infected farms, all of which are under quarantine until further notice. Birds over 21 days of age on these farms will be tested every 10 days for evidence of the virus.

The Delmarva Emergency Poultry Disease Task Force believes that the most likely ways to transmit the virus is firstly, through people carrying it on their shoes…secondly by people and machinery entering and leaving the farm during routine operations, and thirdly through the air. Therefore, the task force has decided to enforce the following precautionary measures.

There will be no spreading of poultry manure in areas north of Route 50. Feed delivery trucks will only deliver to one farm per trip, and will undergo rigorous cleaning before and after leaving each farm. As secretary of agriculture I will call the commercial fertilizing companies and enlist their cooperation. All of the cages and equipment used to transport chickens will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a routine basis.

Within 72 hours of shipping birds to market, there will be a pre-slaughter testing on farms within 6 miles of the infected farms.

DDA is asking anyone with small numbers of backyard chickens or other poultry to report any disease or suspicions of disease immediately to the Department at (302) 698-4566.

Effective immediately, DDA is canceling all scheduled farmer- and grower-related meetings in order to prevent spread of the disease and encourages all those in the industry to do the same.

Effective immediately, DDA is asking that all sales or auctions of farm equipment be cancelled in order to prevent spread of the disease. An example of this cooperation is that Sam Walter's annual farm machinery consignment sale in Canterbury has been postponed.

Effective immediately, DDA is banning all sales of live poultry in Delaware.

I urge all of our poultry producers on Delmarva to enforce the strictest of biosecurity procedures on their properties.

I also would like to seek the cooperation of utility workers when they visit farms for telephone, natural gas, or electric needs.

Source: Delaware Dept. of Agriculture - 11th February 2003

5m Editor