Addressing Avian Flu Concerns

— Written By

Regulations established by Doug Meckes, DVM, NCDA&CS State Veterinarian, emphasize sound biosecurity, including halting movement of birds and canceling bird shows and sales through January 15th, 2016. 

Many of our clients have asked about recent NCDA&CS regulations concerning High Path Avian Influenza and potential impacts on our 4-H Embryology Program. HPAI is a highly contagious disease that has the potential to devastate our multi-million dollar poultry industry. Complicating matters is the fact that methods by which this disease spreads are not fully understood. Recent experiences in Minnesota and Iowa suggest that wind may be a factor but that has not been verified. What we do know is that strict attention to biosecurity measures is critical to minimize spread of the disease.

These regulations and one that is further supported by conversations with NCDA&CS, as well as members of our own NCSU Department of Poultry Science, is that the potential impacts of an outbreak of HPAI could be devastating to the North Carolina Poultry Industry. We understand our Embryology program is one of our most popular programs, one which demonstrates tremendous impacts for 4-H annually. However, while we can obtain eggs that are AI free, we do not know where school students come from, whether they have a backyard flock or live on a farm with thousands of birds. Not fully understanding the means by which this disease is spread further increases the risks associated with offering Embryology this fall. Therefore, beginning now and ending January 15th, 2016 the 4-H Embryology program will be suspended. Re-establishment of the program will depend on the disease status of HPAI throughout the fall and further regulations established by NCDA&CS.

Visit NCDACS’ Avian Flu web site (http://www.ncagr.gov/avianflu/) for further information. There you will find the following:

*Poultry exhibits include but not limited to shows, chicken tractors, and other forms of poultry transport