Avian Flu back & in MA?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KDOGG331, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    My dad just emailed me this Boston Globe article about avian flu and it's pretty scary.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20..._campaign=email_BG_TodaysHeadline&s_campaign=

    Apparently they think it is back and in Massachusetts now. They're not sure yet but think it may have been carried by the migrating geese and survived the summer. Most places have implemented strict biosecurity now hoping it doesn't hit and I think the state's doing their best to prevent it but it's still scary.

    They say unlike other strains this one doesn't seem to affect people but it's still highly contagious and spreads fast.

    They think the geese have already migrated and moved on but it could survive in the poop and stuff. Thankfully I have not seen any geese this year so this is interesting but obviously it's probably in other birds too.

    I was planning to free range but now I think I will keep them securely penned for a while too. They turned 7 weeks old today and will be moving outside permanently very soon. We set up the dog kennel yesterday and now just need a roof and the dig skirt. Putting them outside permanently now makes me nervous though, the garage is a very secure and hopefully biosecure area. They are vaccinated for Mereks and on medicated feed but bird flu is different.

    I am especially nervous though because they say it spreads rapidly and strikes quickly and if even one bird gets it you have to cull your entire flock because supposedly once one gets it they all do. And in my small flock it would spread faster. But they also would maybe stay cleaner and healthier. I can see it being a major financial burden for big farmers though. Probably would even put many in debt or out of business, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of birds. Over the summer (I think that's when it last struck?) they killed millions of birds.

    They say they think it came from the geese as well as other waterfowl so if you had those fly through be aware I guess.

    They have already tested a bunch of farms and will be testing I think a couple hundred wild birds this winter.

    This is very serious so be aware. And yes I realize that often there is a lot of hype for nothing so it may not happen BUT it also very well could as we know from the summer and the virus survives better in the cold and guess what MA is.. cold. though it's been warm lately :p But yeah, this could be catastrophic so just be prepared and prepare. Could be nothing, could be catastrophic again. You just don't know.

    Here is the article again, very interesting and more details.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20..._campaign=email_BG_TodaysHeadline&s_campaign=

    Also, I am paranoid so am curious what security measures they use? If you read it mentions powerful disinfectants for tires and shoes, shoe bathes, etc. Is there a particular one? Or is it not really a concern for backyards? Even without bird flu, I don't want to make them sick.

    But yeah. Just figured I'd share in case anyone hadn't heard yet. I hadn't.
     
  2. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20..._campaign=email_BG_TodaysHeadline&s_campaign=

    State warning farmers about threat of avian flu

    HOLLISTON — A new stop sign by the entrance of Out Post Farm warns the few visitors still allowed on the property that they’re entering a “Biosecure Area.” A wire fence now surrounds the farm, new or repaired screens cover all barn windows, and visitors are now required to apply a powerful disinfectant to the bottoms of their shoes and their vehicles’ tires.

    The security measures are so strict that the owners no longer even allow Girl Scouts in for tours.

    Advertisement

    The new precautions at this and other poultry farms around the state stem from heightened concerns that the flocks could be at risk of an especially virulent strain of avian flu that led to the deaths of millions of birds earlier this year in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

    State agricultural officials worry that geese and other waterfowl carrying the virus may have brought the highly contagious disease to Massachusetts while migrating in recent weeks from northern Canada along their East Coast flyways to the Caribbean.

    Officials have been warning the owners of poultry farms to closely monitor their chickens, turkeys, and other birds to quickly identify any that appear sick.

    Even the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency — which usually responds to hurricanes and blizzards — is focused on the threat.

    “We’re building a plan to respond aggressively to eradicate the disease quickly, so we can minimize its spread and impact,” said Kurt Schwartz, director of the agency, which has been working with other state departments on plans to contain any outbreak. “This is a very serious concern, because of the potential impacts of the disease and because the response is going to require substantial resources.”

    If even one bird is found with avian flu, a poultry farm would be required to destroy its entire flock — a financial blow to farmers.

    Unlike with other strains of the disease, there have been no reports of this strain infecting people.

    “It’s really scary,” said Adrian Collins, the owner of Out Post Farm, which raises thousands of turkeys a year. “You can’t relax. You don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”

    More than 48 million birds were killed between last December and this past June after the avian flu ravaged poultry farms in 15 states, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

    But state officials, noting that some $950 million worth of poultry died or was culled as a result of the disease, are doing what they can to avoid a similar outbreak in Massachusetts, which has an estimated 4,000 poultry farms and hundreds of other backyard coops.

    Schwartz said he’s coordinating with state and federal agencies on a plan that involves surveillance and tests of thousands of poultry and wild birds.

    If the state finds a bird carrying the virus, officials plan to impose a quarantine that would seal off a 6.2-mile perimeter around the farm. No products would be allowed to leave those farms without special permission.

    The farms would also be required to take specific security precautions, euthanize all their birds within 24 hours, and employ hazardous-waste companies to dispose of their remains.

    “This is a highly contagious, lethal virus,” Schwartz said. “Birds can go from healthy to dead in less than a day.”

    There hasn’t been any avian flu reported in the United States since chickens in Wright County, Iowa, were found to be carrying the virus on June 17, according to the USDA. A massive program of culling the birds, and the arrival of warm weather — the higher temperature makes it harder for the disease to live — helped eradicate it. Avian flu is spread through feces, nasal discharge, and other bodily fluids.

    However, the virus can survive for prolonged periods in colder temperatures. Federal and state officials are concerned that the virus may have survived as the carriers spent the summer months in northern Canada and the Arctic.

    To alert poultry farmers about the threat, officials from the state Department of Agricultural Resources this fall sent letters to about 5,000 residents and have held meetings around the state. Most of the birds have already migrated further south, but the consequences of their passage through the state could be felt for months afterward.

    As part of its surveillance efforts, the department has sent inspectors to poultry farms across the state, where this year they have tested about 500 flocks for the virus.

    “We’re hoping we don’t find it,” said Michael Cahill, director of the department’s division of animal health. “If this affects a large number of backyard flocks, we’re going to need help.”

    His department is working with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, which this winter plans to test about 150 wild birds for the virus.

    Officials at both departments said no one knows whether the virus has survived in any of the migrating birds, which do not become sick from the disease and show no symptoms.

    “At this point, nobody knows if it’s going to come back,” said Andrew Vitz, an ornithologist at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who encouraged residents to report any die-offs of wild birds.

    Farmers praised the state for trying to plan ahead.

    “This is a real threat, and the state appears to be doing everything it can,” said Brad Mitchell, deputy executive director of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, a Marlborough-based trade group for farmers, who estimated there are 145,000 birds on state farms.

    At Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, the owners aren’t taking any chances.

    They, too, have cut the number of visitors and require anyone walking on their 11 acres to disinfect their shoes in a foot bath. They have also raised their prices to pay for the new security measures.

    “We’re as careful as we think we can be,” said Sue Miner, the farm’s treasurer.

    But their birds usually have free range around the property, and she worries about things they can’t stop, such as geese droppings landing on the farm from flying birds.

    “It’s totally frightening,” she said. “If we had a sick bird before Thanksgiving, it would have put us out of business. There would be no recovering from that.”

    David Abel can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @davabel.


    Sincerely,
    Dave

    Sent from iPhone so please humor any spelling errors.
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Copied the email in case anyone wants to just read it here and not click the link
     
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    But yeah, thoughts?
     
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Just bumping this in case
     
  6. Jujubara

    Jujubara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's why they had no poulty at the Big E. Sucks. Hopefully it's just a scare and not a big deal. I'm not feeding any wild birds this year, that's for sure.
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Wait they didn't have poultry there this year? I guess it makes sense because it's such a huge thing but still. I lovd seeing the birds. I love all the other animals too, especially goats and horses, but I'm always fascinated by the birds. I know over the summer I had heard a lot of other places didn't have birds or cancelled poultry shows but here in MA I had thought they still had them. At our local fair in late August they had birds and the Big E is what, like September? So pretty soon after for one to have them and another to not but I guess the Big E is a huge thing with birds and people from all over the state. I didn't go this year but wanted to. Maybe I will next year.

    Anyway, yeah, it definitely does suck and hopefully it's just a scare!! And HAH! Me neither. I've seen a lot of birds fly by though. last week or whenever I saw robins and sparrows and that land and try to eat chicken feed but not lately. Maybe they are scared of the.chickens :p but we also have a lot of woods so they hang out there I guess. A few months ago before I got the chicks (hatched October 26th) there were TONS of turkeys around for days straight, like 18 at a time, but they seem to have moved on. I was nervous but thankfully the chicks were inside for 3 weeks then have been in the garage ever since (now 7 weeks) and never went outside until we got thr coop kit and run at TSC on black friday so nowhere near them and probably dissipated by then. A lot of birds are still around though because it's been so dang warm haha but yeah, DEFINITELY will not be feeding and attracting them more though :p
     
  8. Jujubara

    Jujubara Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
  10. Jujubara

    Jujubara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess some go just to see that. I actually haven't been there in years. Probably because I lived close.
     

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