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West Virginia remains clear of Avian Flu despite countrywide surges

According to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), West Virginia is yet to have a single reported case of the Avian Flu in commercial or backyard flocks. The WVDA also believes that the waterfowl are spreading the highly contagious disease when migrating.

When birds contract the disease, they are depopulated while other birds are quarantined. No flocks are allowed to be shipped until they are tested and quarantine is lifted. Some of the signs that birds have Influenza include lethargy, discharge from the nose or eyes, or death.

WVDA Commissioner Kent Leonhardt told 12 News that a wild goose was found dead and tested positive for the disease, but that no other cases are confirmed. He said that this same variant has been around for two years now, with more than 100,000 tests being done in the state alone.

A previous surge in the disease rattled the nation’s poultry industry last year, leading to national egg shortages and record-high price tags. While this could still happen with birds migrating through the fall and spring, the Department of Agriculture has been working around the clock to keep the animal industries and citizens healthy and safe.

“We are doing the testing of any suspicious bird or illness. Even if you think it’s something weird, we’re doing the testing – and we’re also instructing our poultry owners on biosecurity measures and doing public awareness of the whole situation as well. We can’t guarantee that it’s going to stay out of West Virginia, but we’re doing everything we can,” Leonhardt said.

Despite steering clear of West Virginia, the state could still be affected by a large-scale Avian Flu given how much food is imported from outside the Mountain State such as poultry.

If Avian Influenza does make its way to West Virginia, Commissioner Leonhardt said that the WVDA has revamped their Emergency Action Planning so that the disease can be contained if it is found and to keep it from spreading to other farms.

If your chickens or birds show signs of Avian Flu please contact the WVDA at (304) 558-3550 for more information. If West Virginia does end up receiving reports of cases, you will be able to find them on the WV Department of Agriculture’s website, along with the USDA’s website.

Leonhardt would like to thank the Department of Agriculture employees for all their hard work to keep animal industries and citizens healthy and safe.

As reported by WBOY:

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