For the past two years, folks throughout Berkshire County and beyond have had much of their focus on COVID-19 but the coronavirus isn't the only virus that we have had to worry about. For example, multiple cases of Leptospirosis have been found in dogs throughout the state of Massachusetts. You can read more about this by going here.

Now, There is Another Virus That Has Made its Way to Massachusetts Including the Berkshires  

In a recent post from one of the members of The Berkshires Facebook group, the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has made its way to Berkshire County. According to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), the virus has been found in a variety of birds including wild water birds, domestic birds, or both along the east coast from Canada to Florida including Massachusetts. All domestic poultry in Massachusetts may be at risk of exposure to HPAI.

What Action Should Berkshire Residents Take?

It's imperative to protect your flocks. According to the Facebook post, you are urged to bring in any bird feeders that you may have outside including Hummingbird feeders. In addition, if you have chickens and other farm birds, you should not let them have free range. Make sure you cover your runs with mesh and plastic and make sure you use a shoe wash protocol before entering your coop or run.

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What Other Safety Measures Should Berkshire Residents Take? 

In addition, there are a host of other safety measures including detailed Biosecurity measures that you should take according to MDAR which you can access by going here.

Humans are Okay But still Need to Be Careful

MDAR mentioned that humans haven't become infected with the HPAI virus but can infect other birds with the use of contaminated equipment, clothing, footwear, and even vehicle tires. So pay attention and make sure you incorporate the Biohazard safety measures.

Who Should I Call If I Suspect MDAR is Infecting My Flocks? 

If you think that the virus is on your property or is infecting your birds you are urged to contact the Mass. Dept of Agricultural Resources, Animal Health Division at (617) 626-1795 or the USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

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