Hens in cages at an industrial farm (Getty Images/Minnesota Reformer).
After more than a year of combating an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, afflicting poultry farms across the commonwealth, state officials said Wednesday that Pennsylvania has received the “all clear” to resume normal international poultry trade.
State officials announced that Pennsylvania had received the “HPAI-free” designation from The World Animal Health Organization on Wednesday, celebrating the good news for Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry.
State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding praised private and governmental partnerships for seeing Pennsylvania through the outbreak, which began in April 2022.
“Pennsylvania’s coordinated, aggressive, and effective response to the hi-path avian influenza outbreak has brought us to this point,” Redding said. “Planning, coordination, and critical partnerships forged among every level of the industry, working in concert with two Pennsylvania government administrations, including the Department and PA Veterinary Diagnostic Lab System, the USDA, and Penn State Extension, have made the difference in minimizing the impact of what has been the costliest animal agriculture emergency in U.S. history.”
HI-PATH is highly contagious and can infect both birds and humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outbreak of the current HI-PATH strain has affected 31 commercial flocks, 36 backyard flocks, and caused the loss of 4,648,240 domestic birds, according to state agriculture officials.
The last confirmed infection of the current strain of highly pathogenic avian flu in Pennsylvania was on March 17, 2023, in Lancaster County.
While farm-specific restrictions were lifted earlier this month, the commonwealth remains under “general quarantine,” with the department continuing to monitor and test for infections statewide.
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