Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Confirmed at Union County Live Bird Market

Morristown Minute

Federal and State Agencies Coordinate Response to Quarantine and Disinfect the Affected Market; Low Risk to the General Public Noted

Union County, NJ— The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s (NJDA) Division of Animal Health have confirmed a new case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) at a live bird market in Union County. The disease was detected through routine surveillance testing, and immediate measures are in place to contain its spread.

Samples from domestic poultry at the Union County market were initially submitted for testing on September 13. After no signs of HPAI were found, further testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the disease's presence on September 15. The affected market has been quarantined and is undergoing a 24-hour shutdown for cleaning and disinfecting. All birds and livestock at the location will be removed.

Coordinated Disease Control Measures

State and federal personnel are implementing a comprehensive response plan, which includes the quarantine of the affected site, biosecurity measures, and depopulation of the poultry. Resources and recommendations for poultry management are available to the public on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's website.

Risk Assessment

HPAI poses a low risk to humans. Only one human case has been reported in the United States, which was back in April 2022. The virus is highly contagious among poultry and can be fatal. However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these recent detections of HPAI in birds do not pose an immediate threat to public health. Properly cooked poultry and eggs are safe for consumption.

Signs and Prevention

The disease manifests in birds through a variety of symptoms, including sudden death, decreased feed consumption, and respiratory issues. HPAI spreads primarily through contact with the bodily secretions of infected birds. Biosecurity practices such as avoiding contact with wild birds, wearing specific clothing for poultry care, and using foot baths can help prevent the disease's spread.

Report Suspected Cases

HPAI is a reportable disease. If you suspect that your poultry may be affected, contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at 609-671-6400 immediately.

For more information about HPAI and how to protect your poultry, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website or the APHIS website.

By staying informed and practicing good biosecurity, we can work together to minimize the impact of this disease on our local poultry and the larger community.

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