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February 7, 2024
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding poultry owners to continue to monitor for and protect their birds against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). NDA, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has confirmed a new case of the virus in a commercial broiler flock of 102,000 birds in Gage County.
“Nebraska hasn’t had any reported cases of HPAI for a few months so while we are disappointed, we are not surprised, to see another case, as there have been several confirmed HPAI cases in surrounding states,” said Neb. State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley. “Poultry producers need to continue to be vigilant in protecting their flocks. It’s important for producers to know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and to continue to practice good biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of this disease into their flocks.”
HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. The virus can survive for weeks in contaminated environments. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick and die.
Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms.
Materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit are available here.
Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.
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