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Poultry owners urged to have a bird flu plan

Written by Staff Report, Public Opinion Online | Mar 7, 2016 6:00 PM
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(Elliotstsburg) -- The Pennsylvania researcher who tracks the avian flu has urged local farmers to take precautions to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Dr. Sherrill Davison, director of the Laboratory of Avian Medicine and Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, spoke Friday at the 10th annual Farmers' Breakfast hosted by Rep. Mark Keller, R-Landisburg.

"My message to you is to protect your animals," Davison said. "Make sure you know who is coming on and off your farm. Have your plans in place in case something happens."

She told the more than 200 people in attendance to be vigilant and to develop a response plan.

"We really want to reduce any economic impact on the Commonwealth," she said. "We want to protect your livelihoods, and we don't want you to lose you animals. So please, make those plans and reach out for help. There's plenty of people available who can help you."

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has created an HPAI task force with representatives from the poultry industry and experts from Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania to collaborate on all aspects of response and recovery planning, she said. An outbreak of avian flu would impact other industries, such as trucking companies that would no longer be transporting birds.

"Dr. Davison's presentation was especially timely because of the serious threat HPAI poses to the Commonwealth's poultry industry," Keller said, "and that includes those who may only have a 'backdoor flock."'

The event was held at the Perry Mennonite Reception Center in Elliottsburg, Perry County.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between Public Opinion Online and WITF. 

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