HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Despite efforts to control the Avian Flu, cases are growing in the United States and Pennsylvania. On Friday, the rapid increase in infections prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to order all 12 of its bird farms to euthanize or sell its healthy birds.

Even though the flocks have tested negative for the virus, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said the disease is spreading fast and they want to get ahead of it. Since April 2022, five million birds in Pennsylvania have died from the Avian Flu.

“This is being done out of an abundance of caution,” Grant Gulibon, Regulatory Affairs Specialist at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, said. “It’s been a challenge not only in Pennsylvania but nationally.”

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An estimated 58 million birds have died across the United States as a result of the Avian Flu.

Gulibon said birds in Pennsylvania are especially prone to the disease, which is transmitted by wild birds.

“We’re at the intersection of a couple of major flyways that are used for migration throughout the eastern seaboard, so there’s a lot of wild bird activity,” Gulibon said. “We want to make sure that we’re not tracking any material to farms that could end up spreading.”

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is also urging small farms to take extra biosecurity measures to keep their flocks safe.

“Make sure that you’re taking dedicated clothes and shoes [to the farm and] changing out of those before you leave, [and] hose down vehicles that may be going on the farms,” Gulibon said.

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The impact of the decision by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture remains to be seen, but it comes at a time when egg prices are at a record high.

“It’s not something where, in the middle of [the outbreak], we can declare victory,” Gulibon said. “We have to take it day by day.”