Press Release

Press Release  Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Animal Health Officials Depopulate Impacted Flock
For immediate release:
1/12/2024
  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Media Contact for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Massachusetts

Danielle Burney, Deputy Communications Director

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Division of Animal Health is informing the public that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been detected in Barnstable County. MDAR and its partner agencies depopulated and disposed of a non-commercial, mixed-species backyard flock (non-poultry). Birds on the affected premise exhibited clinical signs consistent with HPAI and tested positive for the disease. 

MDAR advises backyard and commercial poultry owners to practice strong biosecurity measures to prevent domestic poultry from having contact with wild birds, their feathers, and droppings. The HPAI virus continues circulating in the wild bir-d population, particularly in wild waterfowl. Eliminating standing water and preventing domestic birds from having access to ponds, streams, and wetland areas that attract wild waterfowl is critical. 

The public is asked to report sick, dead, or dying domestic or wild birds. 

HPAI Reporting and Response Information: 

  • Reporting domestic birds: the public should report sick or dead poultry by calling MDAR’s Division of Animal Health at (617) 626-1795 or online at https://www.mass.gov/forms/poultry-disease-reporting-form

  • Reporting wild birds: the public should report observations of any sick, injured, or deceased seabirds. For other species of wild birds, such as songbirds, only report observations of 5 or more birds found at a single location. The public can report observations using this simple webform at mass.gov/reportbirds

Both wild and domesticated birds can become infected with HPAI. The public should avoid contact with wild birds or handling any dead birds or birds showing signs of illness. Waterfowl and other aquatic birds may pose the greatest risk to domestic flocks, although raptors, scavengers, and other bird species are susceptible. Birds may be infected with HPAI without showing any clinical signs. Infected birds may die suddenly, have decreased energy, decreased appetite, decreased egg production; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; swelling of the head, comb, eyelids, wattles, or hocks; nasal discharge, snicking, coughing, or sneezing; uncoordinated gait; or diarrhea. 

For more information regarding the disease, please visit MDAR’s Avian Influenza webpage

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Media Contact for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 

    The Department’s mission is to cultivate a robust and equitable agricultural economy, promote a safe and resilient food system, and preserve a healthy environment for Massachusetts farmers, animals, and consumers.
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