The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has been working with its sister agencies and federal partners on establishing an emergency response plan for the introduction of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Since mid-December 2014, there have been several ongoing HPAI incidents along the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways. Due to the mixing of birds from different flyways up through Canada, it is likely that exposed birds will be found in the Atlantic Flyway during the current southern migration. This strain of the HPAI virus devastated the domestic poultry population in 21 Midwestern and Western states over the past year. It has not been found to affect humans. Ongoing, routine testing of wild birds and domestic poultry is being conducted and to date no HPAI has been found within Massachusetts. MDAR is seeking to educate poultry owners about the risk this virus poses to their birds in hopes that owners will take every precaution to prevent their flocks from being exposed. Additionally, the MDAR wants poultry owners to understand what will happen if their flock becomes infected.
HPAI is a deadly disease for poultry. It can infect all types of chickens, turkeys and many other kinds of birds. HPAI can strike suddenly and spread fast. Infected poultry may die within hours of becoming infected. The virus can be spread by contact with infected birds or contaminated materials. Read more →