Md. Dept. of Agriculture, Delmarva Poultry Industry urge beefing up poultry security

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Following the confirmation of H7 avian influenza being found in a commercial chicken flock in Tennessee, the Maryland Department of Agriculture released a statement Monday alerting poultry growers in our region to stay vigilant and enhance biosecurity practices for their flocks.

Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder says Tennessee's outbreak is proof that avian flu can strike without notice.

"I urge all of our poultry owners--from large commercial operations to small backyard flocks--to remain vigilant in your biosecurity practices and record keeping," Secretary Bartenfelder said.

Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. additionally released a statement Monday urging growers to do all they can to prevent visitors or wild birds from coming into contact with their chickens. An outbreak on Delmarva could potentially cause severe financial losses to any farm affected.

Officials with the United States Department of Agriculture confirmed cases of H7 avian influenza within a commercial chicken breeder flock of 73,500 birds in Lincoln County, Tennessee, an area within the Mississippi flyway. The highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza, or HPAI, is of wild bird lineage, officials said. No other cases of HPAI have been reported so far this year.

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