State veterinarian said spring months are crucial in Avian flu containment

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 12:04 AM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The next few months will determine if the Avian flu in the Valley stays to a minimum or reaches another outbreak.

“We remain at pretty high risk throughout the rest of the spring especially when we typically see increased numbers of cases,” Charlie Broaddus, state veterinarian for Virginia said.

Broaddus said the United States is experiencing the largest outbreak of Avian flu in recent history and has been for the last year.

“The highest risk throughout the spring both in temperatures and the presence of migratory birds, the ducks and geese that are flying overhead are more prevalent in the springtime,” Broaddus said.

He said the next few months are crucial in the Valley.

“Influenza viruses in general tend to live in cool, wet conditions better than hot, dry conditions so when we get towards the summertime, that doesn’t mean the risk goes away completely but it does decrease significantly,” Broaddus said,

In Rockingham County, two farms have already been impacted by the bird flu.

Broaddus said it’s not expected to go away overnight, especially since most states have been impacted.

“Past outbreak situations the virus will you know infect various birds you know waterfowl and into the domestic birds and that type of thing for a period of several years sometimes,” Broaddus said.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said biosecurity is just as important in the smaller “backyard” flocks as it is in larger commercial flocks.