Cases of the avian flu have been detected in five Maine counties as of March 25, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

More cases of the deadly avian influenza have been reported in Cumberland County.

The cases affected a mixed flock of about 150 poultry and were reported on March 22, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The H5N1 avian influenza, a deadly disease that was first identified in Maine in a small flock in Knox County in February, has the state on high alert. Keepers of backyard poultry flocks are being urged to take every precaution to prevent its spread.

Cases have been detected in Washington, Knox, Lincoln and York counties.

So far in Maine it has been found in both domestic and wild birds.

Symptoms include swollen heads, blue coloration of combs and wattles, lack of appetite, respiratory distress and diarrhea with a significant drop in egg production. These symptoms are particularly severe in chickens and turkeys.

If there is any question about the health of an individual bird or entire flock, it is crucial to report those cases to state officials by calling 866-536-7593.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.