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Waterfowl banned from entering Delaware State Fair competitions

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Michael Palmer/Wikimedia Commons
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Due to concerns about avian flu, the Department of Agriculture will not allow waterfowl to enter poultry competitions at the Delaware State Fair next month.

Waterfowl, which are ducks and geese, may not show symptoms of avian flu - even if they have contracted it, says Bob Moore, the state’s animal inspection supervisor.

“We debated whether to do this not," said Moore. "Due to the danger of avian influenza devastating to our area, our poultry industry, our backyard flocks and breeder flocks, we don’t want any disease to come in. So therefore limiting the waterfowl at the fair, we hope it can prevent the spread of any disease that might be in the area.”

Symptoms of avian flu include respiratory problems, coughing, sneezing, and eventually, death. The virus is airborne and can spread easily through clothing and vehicle tires. The birds that enter the state fair competitions are inspected every year for avian influenza.

Cases of avian flu has popped up in 15 states and has been largely concentrated in the Midwest since December. While it hasn’t hit Delaware, the state Department of Agriculture has been taking extra precautions to protect the poultry industry. This includes advising backyard chicken farmers avoid sharing tools with neighbors, be careful of home visitors, and change clothes after handling chickens to prevent the spread of any possible disease.

 

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