Strict standards for cleaning vehicles, containers and materials that transport poultry and related products have been established to continue safeguarding Pennsylvania’s poultry flocks against the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. Enacted by the state Department of Agriculture, the interstate and general quarantine order appeared in the August 22, 2015 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. No cases of HPAI have been detected in Pennsylvania to date, though the virus has been found in 21 other states.

The order requires that all vehicles, conveyances, containers and materials that transport poultry and related products be completely cleaned and disinfected using commercial truck washing equipment or other equivalent cleaning and disinfecting equipment. There must be no visible buildups of manure and feathers before loading. Additionally, written documentation of cleaning and disinfection must be maintained.

“The HPAI virus can be carried from farm to farm and state to state in many ways, so it’s important that we take away as many of those opportunities as we can,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “By requiring haulers to disinfect their equipment, from the chicken crates to the floorboards of the cab, we’re making it more difficult for HPAI viruses to cross our borders and infect Pennsylvania flocks. We are doing everything we can to keep Pennsylvania safe from this virus.”

The virus has spread primarily through migratory birds from the Pacific to the Central flyway to the Mississippi flyway. There has not been a case of HPAI found in Pennsylvania to date. However, when birds begin migrating this fall, there is concern that infected birds migrating south could enter the Atlantic flyway, which intersects with the Mississippi flyway and overlies Pennsylvania.

Among the 21 states HPAI has been found in, the virus was detected in Macomb County, Michigan – 150 miles across from Lake Erie’s Pennsylvania shore. Roughly 50 million birds have been killed by the virus to date.

With the order in place, affected vehicles and conveyances — including trucks transporting poultry, live or unprocessed products or poultry and conveyances and equipment hauling or applying poultry litter, waste or manure — must clean and disinfect those vehicles and conveyances prior to entry onto a new premises or poultry operation. Additionally, receipts documenting the washing must be kept and available for inspection by the department or the Pennsylvania State Police for one month. Department staff has the authority to inspect any vehicle affected by the quarantine order.

This is the second interstate quarantine order the department has put in place with the threat of the HPAI virus. The first was established in June, requiring poultry moving to live bird markets and eggs destined for a commercial breaking operation from states with infected HPAI flocks to meet 72-hour testing, paperwork and reporting requirements that certify the shipment has tested negative for avian influenza.