Commissioner Leonhardt Urges Continued Increased Biosecurity to Combat HPAI

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in 23 of the 50 states, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt is continuing to urge farmers and producers to practice increased biosecurity measures. West Virginia currently has no confirmed cases of HPAI, but neighboring states of Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Maryland have found the virus in poultry. Commercial poultry is West Virginia’s number one agricultural commodity, contributing $334 million to the economy.

“The fact West Virginia has not had a confirmed case of HPAI shows the professionalism of our producers and industry partners. Their efforts thus far have paid off, but that does not mean we should let up. All farmers should continue to practice good biosecurity. It is crucial to contain HPAI from being introduced into commercial and backyard operations,” said Commissioner Leonhardt.

Producers should take the follow actions.

  • Limit, monitor and record any movement of people, vehicles or animals on and off the farm.
  • Permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm to limit the chances of bringing the virus from an outside source.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms and any unnecessary travel off the farm.
  • Disinfect equipment, vehicles, footwear and other items that come in contact with flocks.
  • Keep your flock away from wild or migratory birds, especially waterfowl.
  • Isolate any ill animals and contact your veterinarian.

For more information on HPAI, see the USDA’s Defend the Flock program at: USDA APHIS | Defend the Flock Program

Poultry owners should immediately report unusual death loss, a drop in egg production or any sick domestic birds to WVDA Animal Health Division at 304-558-2214.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.