Apr. 25, 2022

HARRISBURG – Following a meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf on avian influenza (HPAI) currently impacting Lancaster County poultry farms, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) issued the following statement:

“This afternoon, I joined other legislative leaders to meet with Gov. Wolf to discuss the avian flu crisis, which has broken out in Lancaster County. Currently, we are aware of the highly contagious HPAI infection being present at four farms in our county. 

“The livelihoods of farmers, their employees and their families are on the line as we work to address this situation. Consumers in our community and the millions who depend on Lancaster County’s egg and poultry production will see an impact in the cost to put food on the table.

“Millions of birds have already been affected and that number will continue to rise in the days ahead. For that reason, I directly requested that state government take any necessary steps to protect an industry that is vital across our county and for the consumers who rely on its products.

“Over the last several budgets, I have personally advocated for specific state dollars to be protected for use in an avian flu emergency. We are fortunate to have this support as we now face a once in a generation avian flu crisis.”

HPAI does not impact humans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is safe to eat poultry and eggs when they are properly handled and thoroughly cooked. The CDC mentions that the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit kills bacteria and viruses, including HPAI viruses. This means that over-easy and sunny side up eggs should be avoided. Also, people should not consume meat or eggs from poultry that are sick. 

There is no cure for avian flu. Depopulation is the only solution.

HPAI is transmitted through contact with fecal matter from wild birds, infected birds, contaminated equipment, and contaminated boots and clothing. 

In order to protect flocks from the disease, backyard chicken owners should:
   • Keep poultry inside their coop to avoid contact with wild birds.
   • Remove birdhouses and feeders used by wild birds.
   • Wear dedicated footwear and clothing to work with birds. 
   • Wash hands before and after working with birds.
   • Clean and disinfect equipment in contact with birds.
   • Limit visitors to the premises.

Anyone who witnesses unexplained illness or death within their flock should contact PDA at 717-772-2852. Pennsylvanians can assist with HPAI surveillance efforts by reporting any sick or dead wild birds to the Game Commission by calling 610-926-3136 or emailing pgc-wildlifehealth@pa.gov. Any sick or dead domestic birds should be reported to PDA at 717-772-2852. Information for commercial producers is available at padls.agriculture.pa.gov/

Speaker Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub
RepCutler.com / Facebook.com/RepBryanCutler