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Avian Influenza Detected at Maryland Farm, Delmarva Poultry Farmers Urged to Take Precautions

By Rachel Sawicki

A Maryland chicken farm in Caroline County preliminarily tests positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza and Delmarva poultry owners are encouraged to take precautions.

This is the third season in a row that this particular strain of avian influenza has hit Delmarva, which Delaware State Veterinarian Karen Lopez says isn’t just unusual.

“This is the most devastating foreign animal disease outbreak, and persistent, long-standing loss of birds, cost to the United States, that we have ever seen in U.S. history," Lopez says.

Lopez says avian influenza is typically carried by waterfowl species like ducks, geese, and shorebirds that transmit it through nasal and eye secretion, feces, and feather dandruff to poultry like chickens, turkeys, and pheasants.

She adds it is imperative for farmers to follow biosafety procedures like cleaning and disinfecting equipment, wearing designated farm clothing and shoes, and using migratory bird deterrents.

Lopez says state or federal agriculture departments investigate every outbreak to try and determine how the disease was transmitted. 

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