Two more backyard flocks of poultry have been diagnosed with highly pathogenic Avian flu.

Where Have the Latest Cases Been Found?

In February, two non-commercial flocks of birds in Knox County were discovered to be infected with the virus. Now, the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories have confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, in samples taken from two small flocks of non-commercial backyard birds in Lincoln and York counties One flock in each has been found to be infected.

What are State Officials Doing to Stop the Spread of HPAI?

As in the Knox County cases, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has placed both properties under quarantine and the flocks have been humanely depopulated. In addition, the department has implemented additional safety measures, including monitoring other nearby properties with domestic flocks within a 10 km radius and notifying bird owners of the importance of proactive safety measures to help prevent disease. The risk for HPAI remains high, so wildlife officials advise backyard flock and commercial operators to keep their birds indoors in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

How Do I Know if My Chickens have Avian Influenza?

According to OSHA, the following symptoms could point to a case of avian flu in birds:

  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite and coordination
  • Purple discoloration and/or swelling of various body parts
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Reduced egg production and/or soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Sudden death

In humans, symptoms of the virus are typical of any flu-like illness:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye infections
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe Respiratory disease

There have been no confirmed cases of HPAI in humans, so health officials say Maine residents don't really need to be concerned about themselves but should keep an eye on their birds. Anyone who thinks their flock of poultry may be infected should contact the Department of Agriculture immediately.

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