Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza SITUATIONAL REPORT - FEB 23, 2022

February 23, 2022



USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of the H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a sample taken from a second small flock of non-commercial backyard birds (non-poultry) in Knox County. This property is located approximately 3-km from the initial property where HPAI was previously detected.

Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly. No cases of this particular strain of the avian influenza virus have been detected in humans in the United States. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent detections of this strain of influenza in birds in Maine and several other states present a low risk to the public.

Background: On Sun, Feb 20, 2022, USDA APHIS announced a confirmed case of the HPAI detected in a small flock of non-commercial backyard birds (non-poultry) in Knox County, Maine. DACF Animal Health officials worked with the Knox County premises to control the potential spread of avian influenza. DACF placed the property under quarantine and euthanized affected birds humanely. DACF also implemented additional safety measures, such as monitoring properties with domestic flocks within a 10-km radius of the initial property and notifying bird owners of the importance of proactive safety measures to help prevent disease.

Current Situation as of Feb 23, 2022

  • Depopulation was conducted at the premises.
  • The 10-kilometer surveillance zone continues around each affected premises.
  • Backyard and commercial operators are advised to keep birds indoors to prevent the spread of HPAI.


According to the USDA, all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should:

  • Practice protective security measures to help prevent disease
  • Prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and
  • Report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Resources for backyard and commercial poultry producers:

DACF's Animal Health team is also working closely with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). Though this strain of avian influenza has not been detected in humans in the United States, Maine CDC is monitoring the health and wellbeing of Animal Health staff and flock owners who were exposed out of an abundance of caution. Signs and symptoms of bird flu infections in people can include fever (temperature of 100F or greater) or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, headaches, eye redness (or conjunctivitis), and difficulty breathing. Other possible symptoms are diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. As with seasonal flu, some people are at high risk of getting very sick from bird flu infections, including pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and people 65 and older. The U.S. CDC provides information on avian flu transmission at this link. The Maine CDC's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory is prepared to process samples and quickly provide results for anyone potentially exposed to the virus.

Contact: James Britt, (207) 480-0558, jim.britt@maine.gov