COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Bird flu, or highly pathogenic avian influenza, is a serious disease that has veterinary experts like Dr. Timothy McDermott, working to keep people informed on how to prevent it’s spread.
“This is a virus that has high mortality, it can be devastating,” McDermott, with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University, said.
The disease was detected in Franklin County, where a flock of chickens was being kept in a backyard.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has since “depopulated the flock” and said the cases do not present an immediate threat.
However, McDermott said educating the public on how to keep more cases from spreading is crucial.
“Right now, I’m working with the 4-H clubs, we are doing presentations, we’re doing webinars, we’re getting our 4-H youth engaged,” McDermott said.
Some simple ways to increase your farm’s biosecurity are by removing standing water, avoiding placing ponds as drinking water, and reducing wildlife feed.
McDermott also recommends using disposable gloves and shoe covers before meeting birds in their environment.
If those measures are taken, he says it could prevent an outbreak.
“So far, Ohio is doing good. We’re seeing great biosecurity both in backyard keepers, and we’re seeing it in our commercial industry, but now is the time that we don’t give up, we have to go all-in on our biosecurity,” said McDermott.
If you suspect your birds have contracted the avian flu, you should contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture or USDA immediately.