Stray Cat in Smyrna Tests Positive for Rabies

DOVER (June 29, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Kent County residents who live or spend time near the area of Smyrna Landing Road in Smyrna that a positive case of rabies in a stray cat has been reported. Two individuals were potentially exposed to the stray cat in the residential neighborhood. The cat was tested for rabies, which returned positive results on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. The exposed individuals have been contacted and advised to begin post-exposure prophylaxis treatment (PEP).

Since Jan. 1, 2022, DPH has performed rabies tests on 118 animals, eight of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes two raccoons, three foxes and three cats including this positive case. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.In 2021, DPH performed rabies tests on 188 animals, nineteen of which were confirmed to be rabid, which includes one dog, one deer, one fox, one cow, two skunks, three cats, four raccoons and six bats.

Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or have encountered a cat in this area should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Anyone in the area who thinks a cat may have bitten their pet should call their private veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated, and the exposure reported to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Rabies is a preventable disease. DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

  • All dogs, cats and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important for pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors to vaccinate their pets.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.
  • Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies. 
If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:·    If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at Calls after hours and on weekends can be made to the 24-hour dispatch number at 800-523-3336.·    Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself, including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a pole, sturdy stick, or any other long object.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

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Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Governor Carney Honors Four Century Farm Families, 2022 Marks 35th Year of Delaware Century Farm Program

Note: Pictures are available on Flickr.

DOVER, Del. (May 16, 2022) – Governor Carney, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Nikko Brady, and state legislators honored four Delaware farm families for their commitment to keeping farmland within the family for 100 years.

“There is no better way to kick off Delaware Grown Week than to highlight the history of Delaware agriculture with the presentation of this year’s Century Farm Awards,” said Governor John C. Carney. “We are fortunate to have generations of farm families still engaged in agriculture here in Delaware.”

The Delaware Century Farm Program was established in 1987 to honor farm families who have owned and farmed their land for at least 100 years. The farms must include at least 10 acres of the original parcel or gross more than $10,000 annually in agricultural sales.

With the announcement of these four new families, Delaware will have recognized 152 Century Farms over the past 35 years. Delaware Century Farm families receive a sign for their farms, an engraved plate, a certificate, and legislative tributes.

“While the Century Farm Program has been in existence for 35 years, we know there are many Century Farms we have recognized that have been in the family for 150 years…200 years or even longer,” said Deputy Secretary Nikko Brady. “Secretary Scuse and I have charged the Aglands team to research these farms so we can recognize those families that continue to pass their farms down to the next generation. Keeping land in agriculture is essential to the success of our industry.”

2022 Delaware Century Farm Awardees

Lana Rae Eashum and Family (Dagsboro, Sussex County): The Eashum family is recognized for their 36-acre family farm located in Dagsboro Hundred.

Mr. John H. Baker purchased a 36-acre and 15-square-perch farm from Isaac W. Timmons Etux on September 28, 1899, for $11,000. After John died in 1961, the farm was left to his daughter Louise Marie Baker by operation of law. On August 29, 1994, the farm was sold to Meredith Kay Emory for $1.00 and bought back the same day by Louise Marie Baker. When Louise Marie died in 1995, she left the farm to her son, J. Caleb Eashum. In 2014, J. Caleb added his wife, Lana Rae Eashum, to the deed. In 2016, J. Caleb passed away.

Since then, his wife, Lana Rae Eashum has owned the Eashum Family Farm. Mrs. Eashum’s daughter Denise Shortridge and her husband C.J., who now lives on the farm, received the award on her behalf.

Charles L. Everett, Teresa L. (Everett) Timmons, and Chad L. Everett and Families (Clayton, Kent County): The Everett family is recognized for their 274-acre farm located in Kenton Hundred.

The original 417-acre farm was purchased by Levi L. Everett and Katherine F. Everett for $12,750 from James M. Downs on April 23, 1920. When Levi died, the farm was left to his wife Katherine and their four children, Levi, Andrew, Roy, and James. In 1936, Andrew purchased the entire farm from his mother for $6,500. After he passed in 1981, his will split the farm between his two sons, George Lee Everett and Robert L. Everett. George and his wife, Louise, purchased the 274-acre farm parcel in 1988. In 2014, with the passing of Louise, the farm was willed to her three children, Charles L. Everett, Teresa L. (Everett) Timmons, and Chad L. Everett.

This farm produces corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, and hay. The family has raised dairy and beef cows, along with hogs. In 2004, the farm had an easement established for Aglands Preservation, permanently preserving this farmland. The Everett Family has also been involved in wildlife conservation. They have four ponds on the farm and have raised and released quail, Canadian Geese, and Mallard Ducks, along with establishing dove plots.

Stanley L. Johnson and Family (Millsboro, Sussex County): Stanley Johnson and his family are recognized for their 25-acre farm in Indian River Hundred.

Mr. George T. Johnson purchased the 25-acre farm from Annie J. Hudson, John B., and Martha J. Mitchell on November 21, 1918, for $2,000. In 1976, George passed away, leaving the farm to his wife, Ella Moore Johnson, with their four children, Elizabeth Smith, Ruth Hudson, Granville L. Johnson, and Richard C. Johnson. Ella died in February 1989, leaving Granville as the Executor of her Estate. In July 1989, Richard and his wife, Patricia, purchased the farm from Granville. In 2011, the farm was put into the Richard C. Johnson 2011 Asset Preservation Trust by Co-Trustees, Stanley and Thomas C., children of Richard and Patricia. In 2018, Stanley and his wife Linda purchased the farm from the trust.

Looking back, Stanley’s grandfather, George T. Johnson, raised chickens on the farm for Townsends. The main crops grown on this Delaware farm include corn and soybeans, but they are looking to transition into more specialty crops as the younger generation gets more involved.

Alvin and Normal Warner (Milford, Kent County): Mr. Alvin Warner, and his wife, Norma, were honored at the program for their 29.3374-acre farm in Milford Hundred.

Mr. James W. Warner purchased a 121-acre farm from Willie and Jennie Russell on January 2, 1921, for $4,500. When he died, the farm was left to his wife Addie V. Warner, and their 11 children, Blanche Eisenbrey, Gordon Warner, Maude Hall, Harvey Warner, Floyd Warner, Hazel Waldron, Stella Willis, Ethel Burns, Wilbur Warner, Howard Warner, and Doris Raughley. In January 1945, son Howard purchased the 121-acre farm from his mother for $1.00. In 1976, Howard’s son Alvin and his wife Norma purchased the 29.3374 acres from the original farm. By 1979, it was determined through a survey that under Howard and his wife, Jeannette, the farm was portioned into various percentages of land owned between Joan M. and Earl H. McMullen, Robert L. and Kathleen A. Warner, and Alvin H. and Norma V. Warner. Alvin and Norma’s portion included the farm they had purchased and an additional 3.7249 acres. In 1981, Alvin and Norma transferred the 29.3374 acres farm to Warner Enterprises, Inc.

Previously a dairy farm, as evidenced by the milk house and cowshed that still stand on the farm, the family transitioned to raising poultry in 1977. They raise small grains, corn, soybeans, and Delaware Grown vegetables and produce to sell at their on-farm market.


High Path Avian Influenza Confirmed In Black Vultures, Poultry Producers Encouraged To Take Precautions

DOVER, Del. (May 11, 2022)—Federal laboratory testing confirmed cases of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI) in samples taken from black vultures initially found sick and dead on April 22 in Harford County, Maryland. Following an investigation by the Maryland Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MDA, DNR) and the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed samples submitted from the dead birds tested positive for HPAI.

These detections mark the Delmarva region’s first confirmation of HPAI in wild birds since February 17, when the virus was found through wildlife surveillance in a Canada goose in Kent County, Delaware.

HPAI is known to be carried by wild birds, especially waterfowl, raptors, and vultures. Avian influenza is a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus that spreads quickly among birds through nasal and eye secretions and manure. As scavengers, vultures will feed on dead wildlife, including other wild birds. If they ingest the virus, they can get sick and die. It is believed the vultures contracted the virus from eating infected migratory bird species.

Even with the ongoing detections of HPAI in poultry and wild birds in the United States, continuing testing of people in close contact with infected poultry indicates a low risk to the general public’s health. This H5N1 virus has not shown an ability to infect and be transmitted between people. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. Properly cooking poultry and eggs to 165 degrees Fahrenheit will kill viruses or bacteria.

Since the initial detection in Harford County, more than 100 black vultures have died from the disease. A total count cannot be confirmed because wild birds often get sick and die where people cannot see them. Black vultures are also known to fly long distances, which means infected vultures may die in other locations and transmit the virus to other birds, including poultry.

Six farms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware were identified as impacted by HPAI between February 23 and March 18, 2022. With the first confirmation in a commercial poultry farm, a state-federal response was initiated between the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), MDA, and USDA.

Considering the ongoing detections in the black vulture population, all poultry owners need to continue with increased vigilance in protecting their flocks from contracting avian influenza.


 Follow these steps to help manage wildlife and keep avian influenza off your farm:

Cover waste. Keep mortality and compost piles covered at all times. The recommendation is one part mortalities to two parts litter, with birds in layers no more than 5 inches deep and not placed next to sidewalls. Cover mortalities daily with litter. If vultures are still an issue, cover the bins with netting or a screen.
Remove standing water adjacent to poultry houses. Grade property to avoid pooling water. Fill or grade areas where water stands for more than 48 hours after heavy rainfall. Don’t walk or move equipment through or near standing water – this could track wildlife fecal matter or other contaminants with the virus into your barns. Never use untreated surface water for watering birds, cleaning poultry barns, or other facilities.
Manage ponds and basins on poultry farms. Prune or remove plants from banks of artificial water structures. Use wire grids, predator decoys, and scare devices to keep waterfowl away. Use fencing to separate natural ponds from the active area around barns.
Secure buildings. Regularly check and repair damaged screens on windows and doors and holes in barn walls. Install netting or screens and use repellent gel or bird spikes to deter perching. Wash away or remove old nests before each nesting season. It is unlawful to remove nests with eggs or young birds in them.
Reduce food sources. Don’t feed wildlife. Remove spilled or uneaten feed immediately and ensure feed storage units are secure and free of holes. Wild birds can carry HPAI.
Use decoys. Install decoys and scare devices and move them often so wildlife doesn’t get used to them.



If you have sick poultry or experience increased mortality in your flock:

• Commercial poultry producers should contact the company they grow for when they notice signs of disease.
• Backyard flock owners who notice any signs of HPAI in their flock should contact:

o In Delaware, email the Delaware Poultry Health Hotline at or call 302-698-4507 and provide your contact information, size of flock, location, and concerns.
o In Maryland, report any unusual or sudden increases in sick birds to the MDA Animal Health Program at 410-841-5810. Commercial chicken growers and backyard flock owners can email questions about the outbreak to


If you see sick or dead wild birds, do not handle or move them. Report any sick wild birds.

• For assistance in Maryland, call toll-free 1-877-463-6497. U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services operators are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on state holidays. For phone numbers outside of Maryland, please call 410-349-8055.
• For assistance in Delaware, please visit our sick or dead wildlife reporting page or call 302-739-9912 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, weekends, and state holidays, leave a message at 302-735-3600, Ext. 2.

For more information on avian influenza, visit or


Additional Information: For all media requests about HPAI, email:

Gov. Carney, DE Department of Agriculture Underscore Vital Role of DE’s Agriculture Economy on National Agriculture Day

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, 30 food and agriculture groups released the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report, a historic farm-to-fork economic analysis revealing how these sectors influence the local and broader United States economies. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s study highlights how the industries remained resilient to provide Americans with jobs, economic opportunity, and safe food to Delaware families.

“Delaware has a rich farming history and this data released today shows that agriculture remains our number one industry,” said Governor Carney. “The COVID-19 pandemic showed us just how critical the food and agriculture industries are in our state. That’s why we’re making investments in our technology infrastructure that will bring high-speed internet to drive farming operations and we will continue to prioritize farmland preservation. Twenty-five percent of Delaware’s family farms are now preserved forever. What a great thing to celebrate on National Agriculture Day.”

The economic impact study released today shows that 17.77 percent of the nation’s economy and 29.14% of American jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors, either directly or indirectly. Additionally, the analysis broke down the food and agriculture sectors’ economic impact by state. Here are the findings for Delaware

  • Total Jobs: 122,609
  • Direct Jobs: 66,371
  • Total Wages:​ $7.1 Billion
  • Total Taxes:​ $1.6 Billion
  • Exports:​ $331.0 Million
  • Total Food and Industry Economic Impact: $21.7 Billion

To measure the total economic impact of the sectors, the analysis also includes the direct and indirect economic activity surrounding these industries, capturing both upstream and downstream activity. For example, when a farm equipment retailer hires new employees because farmers are buying more tractors, experts consider the new salaries an indirect impact. Similarly, when a retail associate spends her paycheck, an induced economic impact occurs. Together, these have a multiplier effect on the already formidable direct impact of food and agriculture.

“Delaware agricultural producers are some of the best in the country. This study shows the true economic impact they have on our state,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The latest numbers for our food exports continue to grow, and with the ongoing improvements at the Port of Wilmington, we expect our exports of agricultural products to increase in the coming years.”

The full analysis underscores the importance the food and agriculture industries have on jobs, wages, exports, and taxes in our nation. The data provided includes the indirect and induced economy activity surrounding these industries.

Visit to view the entire report.


First Case Of Avian Influenza Detected On Kent County, Delaware farm

DOVER, Del. (March 17, 2022)— Federal laboratory testing has confirmed a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI) case in a commercial broiler farm in Kent County, Delaware. Following an investigation by the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed poultry from this farm tested positive for highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI).

This avian influenza detection follows previously announced cases on farms in New Castle County, Delaware, and Cecil and Queen Anne’s Counties, Maryland. Following these cases, federal and state partners have greatly expanded their surveillance sampling and testing regimen to better protect the poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula.

State officials have quarantined all affected premises, and the birds have been depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from affected flocks will not enter the food system.

There is currently minimal risk to public health as there have been no human cases of HPAI in the United States. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat.

Avian influenza is a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus that spreads quickly among birds through nasal and eye secretions and manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. This virus affects poultry, like chickens, ducks, turkeys, and wild bird species such as ducks, geese, shorebirds, and raptors.

Considering this new case and the prevalence of the virus in the wild bird population, all poultry owners need to increase their vigilance in protecting their flocks from contracting avian influenza by following these steps:

  • Limit, monitor, and record any movement of people, vehicles, or animals on or off your farm.
  • Permit only essential workers and vehicles to enter the farm to limit the chances of bringing the virus from an outside source.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms and any unnecessary travel off the farm.
  • Disinfect equipment, vehicles, footwear, and other items that come into contact with flocks.
  • Keep your flock away from wild or migratory birds, especially waterfowl.
  • Isolate any ill animals and contact your veterinarian.

If You Have Sick Poultry or Experience Increased Mortality in Your Flock:

  • Commercial poultry producers should follow the procedures of contacting the company they grow for when they notice signs of disease.
  • Backyard flock owners who notice any of the signs of HPAI in their flock should contact:
    • In Delaware, email the Delaware Poultry Health Hotline at or call 302-698-4507 and provide your contact information, size of flock, location, and concerns.
    • In Maryland, report any unusual or sudden increases in sick birds to the MDA Animal Health Program at 410-841-5810. Commercial chicken growers and backyard flock owners can email questions about the outbreak to


Additional Information:
For all media requests about HPAI, email:
Due to biosecurity concerns, no on-site interviews, photos, or videos are allowed. For more information on avian influenza, visit or