By Barbara Olejnik
Poultry Times staff
GAINESVILLE, Ga. ‑ Illinois and Indiana ‑ two Midwest states that banned movement of poultry within the state in response to the earlier outbreak of avian influenza – have lifted those bans.
The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that ravaged the Midwest resulted in the deaths of 48 million birds, particularly in the turkey and egg layer industries.
This caused states to cancel poultry shows and exhibits at state and county fairs. At one point during the AI outbreak, at least 13 states cancelled poultry shows to minimize the risk of the disease spreading.
The lifting of the ban on poultry movements in Illinois and Indiana is the result of no new cases of HPAI being reported since June 17.
However the lifting of the bans also comes with some specific requirements.
Indiana poultry was allowed to resume regular movements to shows and sales beginning Sept. 17. Any poultry movements must include a change in ownership that must be documented to allow easier disease traces.
Bird owners are required to maintain records of sales and purchases (including trades/barters) to their flocks. This requirement brings poultry permanently under Indiana’s Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule.
The records need to be retained by the flock owner for three years and must include names and addresses of buyer and seller, sale date, breed, sex, number of animals and reason for movement. If the birds have identification such as a band, that identification also needs to be noted in the poultry movement records.
Indiana State Veterinarian Dr. Bret D. Marsh said, “We appreciate the cooperation from bird owners and exhibitors during the past few months. The sacrifices made during this unprecedented disease event have not gone unnoticed. The Board of Animal Health continues to be committed to protecting the health of the birds in the state.”
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced that out-of-state birds can return to the state to participate in shows, fairs and exhibitions.
The ban was placed on out of state bird’s participation in fairs and exhibitions on June 5 as a precautionary measure due to the HPAI which impacted several states, although avian influenza was not detected in Illinois during the outbreak
“The department will continue to work closely with USDA Veterinary Services as well as other state departments of agriculture to monitor the disease,” said Director of Agriculture Philip Nelson. “Our mission is to continue to educate both commercial and backyard producers about the importance of following strict biosecurity measures daily.”
While these two states have lifted bans on poultry movement, bird displays and swaps continue to be cancelled entirely at fairs in several states.
Still other states have various rules for poultry within their borders. For instance, the Mississippi State Fair added flu test requirements for its open poultry show and limits its showmanship event to a one-bird-per-contestant rule.
South Carolina will allow exhibitions of doves and pigeons which are not thought to easily spread the disease.
Virginia will test each bird at check-in for the state fair’s youth poultry show. Birds going to other shows must be isolated for at least two weeks after returning home.
Arkansas will require all poultry at the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair to have a clean bird flu test.
While Georgia and Alabama have not restricted live bird exhibitions, the states are recommending precautions such as keeping birds indoors to avoid exposure to wild birds, which carry the avian influenza virus.
These restrictions and precautions are the result of continuing concerns about a possible re-emergency of the avian influenza virus when migratory birds begin their fall travels.
Migratory birds are natural carriers of avian influenza viruses and don’t normally get sick from them. But HPAI strains are deadly to domestic poultry.
USDA has announced plans to monitor wild birds for avian influenza this fall to provide an early warning of any new AI outbreak.
As part of the USDA plans, federal and state biologists will collect around 41,000 samples from apparently healthy wild birds from targeted areas from coast to coast through March 31. The samples will be taken mostly from ducks shot by hunters, but also from live-caught birds, fecal samples collected from waterfowl habitats and a wide variety of wild birds that are found dead.