Avian Flu Causes Cancellation of All Ohio Poultry Shows

Posted on:

< < Back to

The Athens County Fair may not have one of its shows this year, as safety measures are taken by the state in regards to avian flu.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced in a news release on Tuesday that all live bird exhibitions this year, which includes not only the Ohio State Fair, but also county and independent fairs and “all other gatherings of birds for show or for sale, including auctions and swap meets,” according to the release.

The move was made “to help protect Ohio’s $2.3 billion poultry industry from the avian flu that has so negatively impacted other poultry-producing states,” the state agriculture department said, despite no reports of the virus present in the state. Indiana is the only state surrounding Ohio that has had a flock test positive for the avian flu.

“So far, Ohio is virus-free and the move is intended to continue that status,” the release stated.

The Athens County Fairboard said they received the news release and are awaiting “a guidance document from the state with suggestions on how to handle the current poultry situation,” according to a statement posted to the Athens County Fair website.

“Once these documents are received, the fairboard will meet with the Sale Committee, 4-H Extension and other committees in order to develop a plan of action for the 2015 Athens County Fair,” the release stated.

The board said they would release a “plan of action” by June 10.

The avian flu, also called Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, is “an extremely contagious virus that primarily affects domestic poultry and is believed to be spread by wild, migrating birds,” according to the Department of Agriculture.

The disease is spread by direct contact with contaminated materials coming from other infected birds, according to the news release.

“This means the exhibitions, auctions and swap meets where birds are co-mingling pose a high risk of unintentionally spreading this disease,” State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey said in the release.

The virus was first confirmed for the first time in 2014 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Ohio is the second-largest egg producer in the country, employing 14,600 people, according to the the state department.