Bird flu discovered at 6th Lancaster County farm

Screenshot, Bureau of Animal Health & Diagnostic Services

This screenshot of a map created by the Bureau of Animal Health & Diagnostic Services shows the 10-kilometer quarantine zone in red and 20-kilometer control zone in yellow. The six Lancaster County farms where avian influenza has been detected this month are within the quarantine zone.

HARRISBURG — Another case of avian influenza was confirmed at a poultry operation in Lancaster County, marking the sixth case in the past 12 days.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was discovered at a commercial broiler breeder pullet operation where 18,000 birds are affected, according to updated data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The case was confirmed Wednesday and information released publicly Thursday.

All six cases in Pennsylvania are in Lancaster County. There are now six commercial poultry flocks and 3,825,800 birds affected.

The latest case expanded buffers further south and east around the affected farming operations. A 10-kilometer, or 6.2-mile, quarantine zone and a 20-kilometer, or 12.4-mile, surveillance zone is established around each site.

Birds are being “depopulated,” or destroyed intentionally, upon discovery of the bird flu to prevent further spread of disease. HPAI is highly contagious and deadly to birds, especially to wild waterfowl and commercial poultry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection says there are no documented cases in humans and there is no immediate public health concern. It is safe to eat poultry and eggs when properly cooked, the federal agency states.

The latest outbreak links to an initial discovery in December 2021 in Canada. It’s since spread across the U.S.

As of Wednesday, poultry outbreaks occurred in 29 states and affected 35,515,949 birds, according to USDA data. There are an additional 899 detections in wild birds.

Genetic analysis of samples from other states shows the current outbreak is being spread by infected wild birds, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, likely through exposure to feces.

Avian flu was detected in five wild birds in Pennsylvania on March 24 and March 28 but there have been no additional cases reported, according to USDA. The discoveries were in Chester County, which borders Lancaster County, and also Venango County, an hours-long drive from where the poultry cases have occurred.

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