50-bird flock in Lamoille County dead after avian flu outbreak

Some birds dead from flu, the rest ‘depopulated’ as precaution

State and federal agricultural safety officials have confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as avian influenza, in a non-commercial backyard (non-poultry) flock in Lamoille County this week.  Samples taken on Monday were tested and confirmed for HPAI by a federal lab in Ames, Iowa.

The small flock of just over 50 birds suffered high mortality over the weekend of December 3-4, and the owners reached out to Vermont Agency on Agriculture and Food Markets (VAAFM) Monday morning. The remaining flock was quarantined to prevent the spread of disease and was depopulated today by officials from VAAFM and USDA, with the agreement and understanding of the flock’s owners.  Though HPAI is considered to be low risk to human health, those who have had contact with infected birds or their environment are being monitored by the Vermont Department of Health.  At this time, no other domestic flocks have shown signs of illness.

This localized outbreak reinforces the importance of public awareness and vigilance for poultry owners, farmers, and hunters, to report sick and dead birds.  The current risk to the public is low, and there has been only one, clinically mild, human case of HPAI in the United States. However, the virus remains deadly to many species of birds, and all bird owners, from those who own backyard pets to commercial farmers, are strongly encouraged to review biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks.

For the agriculture community and poultry owners:

The HPAI virus is often initially introduced to domestic poultry by infected wild birds, through direct contact or contact with their droppings, and then may spread between poultry flocks due to poor biosecurity and/or unfavorable environmental conditions. While some waterfowl species can carry the disease without becoming sick, the HPAI virus is generally fatal for domestic poultry.  Risk factors for the spread of HPAI include:

  • Poultry housed outside
  • Ponds or other wild bird attractants on the farm
  • Piles of debris located close to poultry areas
  • Introduction of poultry from other farms without a quarantine period
  • Lack of personal protective equipment such as dedicated coveralls and boots
  • Sharing of equipment between farms
  • Unrestricted human movement and interaction with poultry

Anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard coop to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds, restrict human movement onto the farm and limit contact with poultry to only those who NEED to be there. Non-essential personnel and visitors should not be allowed. USDA has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available here. In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, VAAFM at 802-828-2421 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593 as soon as possible.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found here

For the fish and wildlife community:

If you hunt wild fowl during Vermont’s available hunting seasons, please keep these tips in mind.

For Everyone:

Some birds may be infected with HPAI even if they do not look sick. To stay safe, Vermonters can take these steps to avoid exposure to the virus:

  • Avoid direct contact with wild birds and observe them only from a distance.
  • Avoid unprotected contact with domestic birds that look sick or have died.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after touching any birds.
  • Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with saliva, mucous, or feces from wild or domestic birds.

Influenza in poultry does not constitute a food safety risk. Vermonters are asked to be alert for dead or sick birds and alert the USDA or Vermont authorities at 802-828-2421 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593 as soon as possible. 

Categories: Agriculture

11 replies »

  1. “Influenza in poultry does not constitute a food safety risk.” Yet, they are culling chickens in record numbers? All by design, all planned, all evil. Control the masses by controlling the food and water.

  2. I have to agree with Melissa Casey, it does make one suspicious, especially in light of covid’s origin. Regardless of origin, over 50 million birds, including turkeys were culled by state and federal officials, from Maine to Oregon as of early Nov. 2022, (PBS News). It is a trans boundary disease and farmers are not fully compensated for the loss, so mass culling impacts both farmers and the food supply with long term consequences.

    • Interesting skim through Dr, Robert Young’s post. Is one of the covid fallouts going to be having to determine our own scrutiny to every medical report we encounter? Which medical sources can we trust.

      Yes, depopulating flocks is one means of ensuring things don’t spread, but it can go hog-wild, too. 50 million birds represents a lot of meals for hungry people in a setting where some are known to be focused on greatly reducing populations.

      Dr. Breggin’s book – We are the Prey points to such tactics, too. gives a summation of his behind the scenes digging on covid. Many are still eager for the latest boosters rather than realizing – we are the prey. Those who embalm are discovering never seen before worm like tentacled blood clot masses when they perform autopsies and embalm deceased for funerals.

      What medical sources can we trust for accurate well honed science based and peer reviewed studies? I thought Pasteur was a legendary medical pioneer. Guess not.

  3. This report leaves out a very important detail.

    The article indicates in the first paragraph that the flock in question was “non-poultry.” Poultry dictionary definition is “domesticated fowl, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, or geese, raised for meat or eggs.”

    So if it was a non-poultry flock, what species of birds was identified as having the outbreak, tested and then sadly “depopulated”?

    If the outbreak was non-poultry, why include so much verbiage about avian flu outbreaks in domesticated poultry?

      • I have now found more than a dozen other examples of essentially the same press release, all reported between Jan and Dec 2022, stating the name of a different county and different state, from Maine to Florida, Connecticut to California. Always missing: any details about the bird species, any interview comments from the affected farmer. Can we/should we trust this kind of “cut-and-paste” journalism?

    • Thank you Cathy and Guy for the fabulous sleuthing related to this EDITED PRESS JOURNALISM. I will archive these ‘copied/edited’ releases for my possible future use.
      In the meanwhile, I won’t fret about the health and safety of the small family flock I keep to entertain my visiting grandchildren!

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