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Avian influenza found in Monroe County

Backyard chickens
Jeremy Moule
CITY Magazine

Bird flu has been found in Monroe County. That word came Friday from County Executive Adam Bello and Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza.

They said that a non-commercial backyard flock of chickens, ducks and pheasants tested positive for the so-called “highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds in Monroe County and across the country do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States.

“We have investigated this case and believe there is no risk to the general public, ”Mendoza said. “However, we urge anyone with backyard poultry, ducks or geese, and game hunters who come into contact with wild waterfowl or turkeys, to take extra precautions."

Mendoza added that, "songbirds do not appear susceptible to this virus, so backyard birdfeeders are considered safe.”

County officials said that the backyard area in Monroe County where the avian flu was found was quarantined by the New York state Department of Agriculture & Markets and birds remaining on the property were euthanized to prevent spread of the disease.

All poultry producers within the county, including residents who keep backyard flocks, are encouraged to limit outdoor access for their birds at this time; keep their birds away from wild ducks and geese and their droppings; and take extra steps to prevent their birds from becoming infected.

County officials said that to report sick birds, a sudden drop in egg production or an unexplained number of bird deaths, contact the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets at their Division of Animal Industry at (518) 457-3502 or the USDA at (866) 536-7593.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.