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Avian influenza contracted at New Castle County poultry farm

Annie Ropeik
Delaware Public Media

A Delaware chicken flock is hit by avian influenza.

The case of avian influenza was confirmed at a New Castle County poultry farm that showed increased mortality over the past few days.

Testing revealed it was the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza.

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse says the incident at the farm shouldn’t hamper the state’s poultry industry.

"Right now a minimal impact if any really. This is isolated to a single farm so it should not have any major impact on the industry at this time."

The Delaware Department of Agriculture says there is also no public health concern.

The farm in question is under quarantine to stop spread to other flocks in the state, and those birds will not enter the food system.

Scuse says preventing any spread from this farm is important.

"There's always that possibility, yes, that it can spread, but we're taking all precautions possible to make sure that that doesn't happen. Again all the precautions to make sure that anything goes in and out of the form is washed down, disinfected, so that we can prevent the spread of avian influenza into other areas in the region."

The cause of the virus is not known at this time, and all poultry flock owners have been encouraged to follow the strictest biosecurity on their farms.

Those steps include limiting, monitoring, and recording movement of people, vehicles or animals on or off farms, allowing only essential workers and vehicles to enter a farm, and avoiding visits to other farms.

Other measures include disinfecting equipment, footwear, vehicles, other items coming into contact with flocks, keeping flocks away from wild or migratory birds, especially waterfowl, and isolating any ill animals and contacting a veterinarian.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.