Few things are cuter than a fuzzy baby chick, but there can be disease and bacteria hiding in those feathers. Poultry scientists recommend practicing biosecurity at all times when interacting with birds. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN

A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected for the first time in Maine, federal officials said Sunday.

State officials quarantined the property in Knox County and the backyard flock will be eliminated to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The virus is often spread to domestic poultry by infected wild birds.

U.S. surveillance efforts have identified the virus in wild birds in a number of states including New Hampshire, where it was detected this month in 20 wild ducks.

Bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state or federal officials.

The avian flu represents no immediate public health concern, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No human cases have been detected in the United States.