HARRISBURG, PA. — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that the state reached HPAI-free status, recognized by the World Animal Health Organization. With this milestone, Pennsylvania can return to normal international trade practices for the first time since April 2022.

The last confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) infection in Pennsylvania was March 17 in Lancaster County.

In early August, specific restrictions on previously infected farms were lifted.

“High-path avian influenza is one of the most significant animal public health emergencies in American history,” said Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro. “I am proud of this administration’s coordinated and aggressive response to reach this critical disease-free milestone today.”

Pennsylvania’s poultry industry generates $7.1 billion. As a result of the wave of HPAI outbreaks, the state lost 4,648,240 domestic birds, and 31 commercial flocks and 36 backyard flocks were affected.

Governor Shapiro signed a commonsense, bipartisan budget earlier this month, increasing funding for the Agriculture Department by 6.4%. The added funding will support agricultural emergency preparedness and response, and $31 million will help poultry farmers pay for testing and get reimbursed for flock losses.

Currently the Agriculture Department is reviewing applications for the fifth round of HPAI Recovery Reimbursement Grants.

Furthermore, the budget invests $1 million in Center for Livestock and Poultry Excellence funding at PennAg Industries. The center has been a critical partner for Pennsylvania in providing equipment, personnel, training and research funding to respond to virus outbreaks.

While there have been no recent cases of the virus within the state, Pennsylvania remains under a general quarantine. It will continue monitoring and testing statewide, especially as wild bird migration season nears.