Avian influenza, or bird flu, infected a backyard flock of 40 birds in Orleans County about a month ago. It’s the third time bird flu has been confirmed in the history of Vermont. Bird flu is transmitted from birds like ducks and geese to backyard or poultry flocks by transmission of saliva, mucus, or feces. Poultry farms in Vermont have been hunkering down to increase their biosecurity measures. Dr. Kaitlynn Levine, Vermont’s assistant state veterinarian, says all three of Vermont’s outbreaks are similar, consisting of backyard noncommercial flocks near water, where it’s likely ducks infected the flock. “It’s really just about trying to keep everything contained, minimize the access as much as possible,” she said. She says it’s hard to know how common bird flu is in any bird you come across, but they know it’s in the community following the Orleans County outbreak and recent confirmation in New York.“Vermont has, for the most part, been very lucky. Our producers have been really diligent, and they’ve taken good precautions. Vermont is the only New England state that has had an outbreak this season. But we have not been hit as hard as some of our neighbors have been in previous instances for this,” said Levine. The Agency of Agriculture is asking folks to report sick birds to them so they can listen to each situation and triage and test the birds as necessary.
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