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N.C. declared free of bird flu

N.C. declared free of bird flu

North Carolina is now officially free of High Path Avian Influenza, meaning that the state can resume export and international trade of poultry products. 

The HPAI-free designation comes from the World Organization for Animal Health, whose guidelines state the designation can be granted once disease has been eliminated on all affected farms with no new infections detected during a 28-day waiting period. 

The state has been on “high alert” since January, when migratory birds traveling through the state tested positive, said Agriculture Commission Steve Troxler. In March and April, nine poultry farms tested positive, resulting in a statewide ban on poultry shows and sales from April through June. 

North Carolina has been designated High Path Avian Influenza-free by the World Organization for Animal Health. This designation means that the state can resume exports and international trade for poultry products.

“Our swift response quickly controlled the outbreak,” said Troxler. “Achieving HPAI-free status is the last step we needed as a state to put this outbreak behind us.”

The outbreak affected 400 poultry farms in 38 states since February, and in North Carolina more than 110,000 turkeys and 371,000 broilers were culled on the six turkey farms and three broiler farms in Johnston and Wayne counties with positive tests. 

Broilers — chicken raised for meat — are the top agricultural commodity in North Carolina, representing more than $3.6 billion annually in cash receipts for farmers. Every year, more than 916 million broilers are raised in the state, along with 31 million turkeys. 

Poultry owners are encouraged to continue following strict biosecurity measures and to monitor their flocks for signs of illness. Sick or dying birds can be reported to the local veterinarian, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division or the N.C. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System. 

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