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Avian flu concerns cause Dept. of Ag and Delaware State Fair to cancel poultry shows

Delaware Public Media

Poultry shows won’t be a part of this summer’s Delaware State Fair.

All poultry shows at the fair are canceled in response to concerns over avian influenza.

Delaware’s Department of Agriculture and State Epidemiologist Office looked at the level of avian influenza across the country this week and the risk it poses to the poultry in Delaware.

They decided - along with State Fair officials - the risk is too high to hold poultry shows during the fair’s week-long run in Harrington starting July 21, 2022.

“So unfortunately we are now at 29 states and close to 240 premises nationwide that are battling avian influenza," said Ag Department spokesperson Stacey Hofmann. "And so the risk to our poultry industry, to our backyard flock owners and to the children and teenagers that are showing poultry at the State Fair…we just did not want to put them in a situation where they had to worry about the health of their birds.”

Delaware has reported three cases of avian influenza - two on farms in New Castle County and one in Kent County.

Hofmann says the Ag Dept. takes cases of avian flu very seriously and she suspects more cases will crop up, with both backyard and commercial flocks at risk.

Hofmann notes that when avian flu cases started popping up this year -it was found mainly in wild birds. But in the past month, it’s spreading and threatening geese, ducks, bald eagles, owls, vultures, crows and hawks.

The last major outbreak of avian flu was in 2015 and poultry shows at the State Fair were also canceled that year as a precaution.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.