Avian flu hits 28 US states, as PA confirms first cases

18 Apr 2022 | Jocelyn Garcia

The first cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed in Pennsylvania in a flock of commercial layer chickens on a Lancaster County poultry farm, marking the first confirmed case of HPAI in the state's commercial poultry since an outbreak in 1983-1984, according to a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) over the weekend.

"While there is no risk to the public, and poultry and eggs are safe to eat if cooked properly, HPAI is highly infectious and can be fatal to domestic birds (chickens, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, guinea fowl and turkeys)," the statement reports.

As of April 15, 2022, 27 other US states are currently experiencing positive cases of Avian Flu in commercial poultry, but no human cases of the virus have been detected in the United States.

Genetic analysis reveals that the virus is being spread by infected wild birds, with wild birds in Pennsylvania confirmed to be infected back in March.

A task force will carry out the response plan, which includes public education and outreach as well as minimizing risk factors though "strict biosecurity measures and continued surveillance, testing, and management".

Trading has suffered because of the spread, as importers like China have blocked imports from many US states with outbreaks.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has also reported implemented measures to protect Canada's poultry from outbreaks by restricting imports of live birds, bird products, and by-products from states affected by HPAI.