RIDEM preparing for emergence of bird flu in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is warning poultry producers and households with chicken coups of bird flu detected in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“This strain of avian flu is deadly to chickens, turkeys, ducks, quail, and other birds,” said State Veterinarian Scott Marshall DVM, who is leading DEM’s response to the HPAI threat. “It could cause significant economic harm to Rhode Island poultry producers. For now, while DEM continues to monitor flocks for infection, we urge all poultry owners to take precautions to protect their flocks by enhancing biosecurity.”

At this time the contagious disease has been located in Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

According to RIDEM,

“Avian influenza, sometimes called bird flu or avian flu, is a disease of birds, usually carried by wild waterfowl and other waterbirds. Sometimes, this disease also can spread from wild birds into domestic poultry. Although avian influenza and human influenza are both caused by influenza viruses, each virus generally affects either birds or people, but not both. Some people, however, have been infected with avian influenza viruses following contact with infected birds. If human-to-human spread with this virus were to occur, that would raise the public health threat. However, according to the CDC, person-to-person spread has occurred rarely, mainly in family clusters and no sustained transmission has been noted. Avian influenza viruses respond to standard antiviral drugs such as Oseltamivir.”

DEM has plans in place including urging poultry producers to strengthen their biosecurity measures as well as asking owners to postpone shows, exhibitions, and poultry swap through June.

DEM also is ready to respond quickly to any reports of sick or dying poultry for proper testing. DEM may also set up quarantine of poultry to avoid further spread of the flu, and require permits before the movement of any poultry.


Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island