Maine has first highly pathogenic avian influenza case

The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in backyard flock in Knox County, Maine.

Roy Graber Headshot
Maine state flag brush stroke, Maine flag background
Maine state flag brush stroke, Maine flag background
(Allexxandar | Bigstock)

A backyard flock in Maine has tested positive for the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed on February 20.

The virus was detected in Knox County in what APHIS referred to as a non-commercial flock of non-poultry.

Samples from the flock were tested at the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

Animal health officials in Maine urged bird owners in early January to be on high alert for HPAI after it was detected at an exhibition farm in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The announcement from APHIS concerning HPAI’s presence in Maine came one day after the agency announced the same virus was confirmed in a backyard flock in Suffolk County, New York.  

So far in 2022, HPAI has been confirmed in 13 states. In addition to Maine and New York, there have been confirmed cases in Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. However, the only states to report cases in commercial poultry flocks to date are Kentucky and Indiana, with two cases apiece. However, two more cases in Indiana are awaiting confirmation of presumed-positive test results.

In Canada, HPAI has been found in two provinces. In addition to Newfoundland and Labrador, it has also been reported in Nova Scotia.

View our continuing coverage of the global avian influenza situation.

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