“We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Stout said. “Poultry is Kentucky’s leading agricultural commodity, and we will do everything we can to keep our commercial and backyard poultry industries secure.”
Dr. Stout encouraged poultry producers and all other bird owners to take biosecurity measures to prevent their birds from being infected with avian influenza or other bird diseases:
- Keep your distance. Isolate your birds from visitors and other birds.
- Keep it clean. Prevent germs from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools and equipment.
- Don’t haul disease home. Clean vehicles and cages.
- Don’t borrow from your neighbor. Avoid sharing tools and equipment with neighbors.
- Know the signs. Watch for early signs to prevent the spread of disease.
- Report sick birds. Report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths to the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian at (502) 573-0282, Option 3, or through USDA’s toll-free number at (866) 536-7593.
In late April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in two wild birds in McCracken County. There have been no detections in domestic flocks in Kentucky.
Avian influenza has been reported in 21 states since last December, and approximately 50 million birds have been affected, including about 29.1 million in Iowa alone.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to humans from the HPAI viruses in the current outbreak to be low. No human HPAI infections have been detected in the United States to date.
According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, there were 51 poultry farms in Crittenden County, more than any of the surrounding counties. All but two local farms had a bird inventory under 50. The census counted a local poultry inventory of 1,166, half of the 2007 census total.
Kentucky’s poultry industry generated an estimated $1.2 billion in farm cash receipts in 2013, the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. Kentucky farmers produced 309 million broilers and more than 1.1 billion eggs in 2013.