State and farms brace for bird flu seen in western states

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HARTFORD--An emergency response plan is in place in Connecticut if bird flu migrates here from the West.

The state Department of Agriculture has been communicating with farms, especially chicken and turkey farms, to look for signs of the flu and to take steps to try to protect against contamination.

Right now, the closest that the highly pathogenic avian influenza has come to Connecticut recently has been in domestic birds in Indiana and wild birds in Michigan.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection tests on dead birds here have come back negative so far.

The Agriculture Department says migratory birds would likely carry the virus to New England.

"We're in the eastern flyway and so we're very concerned," Commissioner Steven Reviczky said.

If a chicken on a farm gets infected, the entire flock would likely have to be destroyed to try to contain bird flu. The dead chickens would then be incinerated or composted on a designated piece of land.

The Agriculture Department is asking everyone who has chickens, from large operations to backyard coops, to make sure their birds are registered with the state.