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Officials say Mainers should avoid gathering with birds as avian flu spreads

Bird Flu
Charlie Neibergall
AP file
Turkeys stand in a barn on turkey farm near Manson, Iowa on Aug. 10, 2015.

State health officials are advising bird owners to avoid competitions, shows or swaps that could increase the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in flocks in Maine.

Several Maine counties are experiencing avian flu outbreaks. Lisa Steele, a Maine chicken farmer and author, says in-person gatherings with domestic fowl or poultry are too risky right now.

"I only bring in baby chicks. I keep a closed flock. I don't ever bring in adult birds because of avian flu and infectious diseases coming into your flock when you bring in adult birds," she says.

The USDA says residents should only buy chicks from a reputable source that follows biosecurity protocols. Flock owners should keep birds indoors to prevent the spread of this disease, which comes from the droppings of migratory wild birds.

There is no cure for avian flu and infected birds must be killed.

Carol Bousquet