Updated Florida rule intensifies defense against Bird Flu

May 14, 2024

By Farms.com

Responding to the threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Florida has enacted an updated emergency rule, reinforcing the state’s defenses against this serious livestock disease. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson emphasized the critical nature of these updates in maintaining both livestock health and the integrity of the state’s substantial agricultural sector.

The updated rule, designated as Emergency Rule 5CER24-6, extends existing regulations with more rigorous testing and movement requirements for imported dairy cattle. Key components include mandatory testing and the need for an Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for cattle coming from areas with suspected or confirmed HPAI cases.

Implemented immediately, this rule reflects Florida's proactive stance in collaboration with federal and state partners to mitigate potential impacts of HPAI. The state’s agriculture supports over 2.5 million jobs, making it a vital part of the local economy worth more than $180 billion annually.

Farmers are urged to adopt stringent biosecurity measures, such as isolating any animal showing signs of illness and preventing different species from sharing enclosures. This strategy aims to prevent the spread of HPAI and other diseases that could potentially jump to humans.

The Florida Department of Agriculture continues to closely monitor the situation, providing updates and guidelines on effective biosecurity practices. They also reinforce the safety of pasteurized dairy products and caution against the consumption of raw milk during this period, highlighting its risks during viral outbreaks.

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