STATEWIDE — As outbreaks of avian flu continue to emerge in small groups of noncommercial backyard birds, Maine animal health officials are urging caution.
Officials say they will continue their advisory which recommends that competitions, exhibitions, shows, swaps, and other in-person events that include gathering or co-mingling of domestic fowl or poultry be canceled or postponed.
Officials with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry say they usually see a drop-off in avian flu once summer hits, but that is not the case this summer.
They are now advising that all applicable events be canceled or postponed until at least 30 days after the last detection of an infected flock in Maine.
Officials say if organizers proceed with a poultry event, they should follow these guidelines for keeping birds and other flocks healthy. Most importantly, if a flock at home is not healthy, you are asked not go to the poultry show. Even if not bringing birds, clothes and footwear could carry disease into this environment. Other guidelines include:
- Minimize contact with the birds on exhibit and with their environments
- Wash hands on the way into and out of the exhibit
- Clean and disinfect poultry cages between use
- Keeping gallinaceous (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl) birds physically separate from waterfowl at the exhibit is strongly recommended. Consider not bringing waterfowl to the exhibit, as they can carry this virus without showing signs of illness.
- Be prepared to respond to suspect or confirmed cases of influenza: document show participant information, make a plan for restricting access to the exhibition barn, and keep contact information for state and local veterinarians handy.