VERMONT (NEWS10) — Vermont residents are being urged to take active precautions against the spread of avian influenza. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says residents should be alert around wild birds, as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to circulate in the state.

“Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in more than 70 wild birds since March, with cases reported most months and in every region of the state,” said Wildlife Program Manager David Sausville. “Many exposures come from migrating birds, so we expect case numbers to drop as winter temperatures set in. However, Vermonters still need to be mindful that this disease is present in our birds.”

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says HPAI poses a low risk to human health, however, the virus can cause severe illness in birds, leading to high mortality rates. They also say a transmission from wild birds is a primary cause of infection in domestic flocks, and human exposure leads to the spread of the virus.