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Avian Flu has Maryland farms on high alert

Posted at 6:25 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 17:55:45-04

EASTERN SHORE, Md. — The Avian Flu is sweeping across the United States. Nationally 24 states have shown Avian Flu out breaks, mostly in the Midwest. That is why Maryland chicken farms are on high alert.

The virus that is classified as High pathogen and is what we are dealing with here in the Delmarva.

Dr. Mike Odian is the state veterinarian. The Eastern Shore has only seen a couple of cases of the Avian Flu. One case has been almost completely cleared so far.

Maryland, Delaware and federal partners are working hard to keep this deadly flu contained. The virus in local birds is spread by migrating bird droppings. Now, all commercial chicken houses are bio security areas.

That is to limit any outside exposure to the chickens.

"Virus that lives in manure so it gets on their shoes and then they walk it into the poultry premise." said Odian.

The poultry business in the Delmarva area is a multi-billion dollar business. Many farmers and workers on the shore rely on it every year.

One of the biggest problems with this flu is that it spreads easy and the adverse effects happen quickly.

"A lot of the clinical signs we've gotten was the house was fine the day before and now they're walking around their premises and birds are dying right before their eyes. It's not a great disease in terms it spreads like wildfire and it's very deadly," said Odian.

It's been three weeks without any cases of showing up in Maryland. Eight other states in the Atlantic flyway have found the virus in wild birds.

"We don't want another positive case and we're working very hard to make sure we don't," said Odian.

The threat usually lessons when the migration of wild birds ends in June.