Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

April 04, 2017

State Agriculture Commissioner Reminds New York Poultry Farmers to Practice Biosecurity Measures to Prevent Spread of Avian Influenza

With Cases Found in TN, AL, GA, KY, and WI, Poultry Farmers Encouraged to Follow Best Practices to Protect Flocks

Prevention Tips Brochure Available Here

State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today reminded New York poultry farmers to practice biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza. Two cases of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza have been reported in Tennessee and several cases of a less serious strain have been reported in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Wisconsin. No cases have been reported in New York. The avian influenza strains detected in other states are not considered to be threats to public health, but can be deadly to birds.

“Although the recent avian influenza outbreak has not impacted birds in New York State, it is important to exercise every bit of caution to minimize the risk to the State’s poultry population,” Commissioner Ball said.  “Our poultry industry is a significant part of the state’s agricultural economy and these biosecurity steps are our best line of defense against the disease.”

To prevent avian influenza from infecting poultry flocks in New York State, the Department is encouraging poultry producers and visitors to farms to follow best practices, which include:

  • Discourage unnecessary visitors and use biosecurity signs to warn people not to enter buildings without permission
  • Ask all visitors if they have had any contact with any birds in the past five days
  • Forbid entry to employees and visitors who own any kind of fowl
  • Require all visitors to cover and disinfect all footwear
  • Lock all entrances to chicken houses after hours
  • Avoid non-essential vehicular traffic on-farm
  • After hauling birds to processors, clean and disinfect poultry transport coops and vehicles before they return to the farm
  • Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds, to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets

Best practices for visitors:

  • Never enter a farm without permission
  • Wear clean clothes and shoes for any visit to a farm
  • Stay in the parking lot on arrival and call for an escort onto the farm
  • Do not touch animals unless it's part of your job
  • Report anything unusual, especially sick or dead birds to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets

The Department’s Division of Animal Industry has been reaching out to the larger poultry and egg farms to ensure best practices are being implemented and to prepare for potential avian influenza cases in New York. In addition, the Department continues to routinely test poultry in live bird markets for avian influenza. In 2016, approximately 35,000 birds in the New York live bird marketing system were tested for the disease.

State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith said, “Avian influenza outbreaks can spread quickly.  We will continue to do all we can at the Department to safeguard the State’s flocks and encourage everyone who keeps poultry to be vigilant about minimizing their bird’s exposure to the virus.  All poultry owners should contact the Department if they have any questions about biosecurity, what they can do to protect their flocks, or how to prepare if avian influenza should appear in New York’s farms.”

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State or federal officials.  To contact the Department, please call (518) 457-3502.

The status of avian influenza outbreaks and information on biosecurity from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available here.  New York State rules and regulations regarding avian influenza are available here.

2017 Press Releases