HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has ordered a temporary ban on the exhibition of poultry and eggs at local and county fairs, effective April 16.

The ban will last for 60 days or until the department rescinds the order, according to Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. The temporary ban was ordered to protect the poultry industry from avian influenza, also known as the “bird flu.”

“Pennsylvania’s agricultural fairs are important educational events for our youth,” Redding said. “But the risk to our poultry farmers and our economy outweighs the benefit of displaying poultry at fairs when avian influenza is an imminent threat. The very real experience of weighing risks against benefits is also a tremendously important part of an agricultural education.”

As of April 12, infected birds in commercial and backyard poultry flocks have been confirmed in 26 states. Pennsylvania has not had a confirmed case in commercial and backyard poultry; however, the virus was detected in a dead bald eagle in Chester County in March.

Domestic poultry is most susceptible to avian influenza, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, emus and ostriches.

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No human cases of avian influenza have been detected in the United States, according to the CDC. Poultry products and eggs are safe to consume if stored and cooked at proper temperatures.

You can report sick domestic birds or unusual deaths by calling the Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852 or by emailing RA-ahds@pa.gov