Bird flu detected in Charles Co., property quarantined

A Charles County, Maryland, property is under quarantine after officials detected a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard bird flock, the state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory is working to confirm the results, with findings expected in the coming days, according to a news release.

A spokeswoman for the Maryland agency told WTOP the affected flock contains chickens, ducks and one goose. Affected birds that hadn’t already died from the disease have been or are in the process of being euthanized.

Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks urged all poultry growers, operators and backyard flock owners to remain vigilant.

“Regardless of flock size, biosecurity remains the most effective way to prevent the spread of this disease among poultry,” Atticks said in a statement.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. This virus affects chickens and turkeys, along with some wild bird species such as ducks and geese.

For those who suspect a case of bird flu on their property, the Maryland Department of Agriculture recommends taking the following steps:

  • Look for signs of illness. Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases.
  • Report suspected sick birds by calling the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5810.

For more information on protecting your flock from bird flu, visit the MDA’s website.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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