BALTIMORE (AP) — Agriculture officials and poultry farmers in Maryland are taking extra precautions against bird flu after outbreaks devastated flocks in other states.

The Baltimore Sun (http://bsun.md/1CEe8A3 ) reports the Maryland Department of Agriculture has banned the entry of waterfowl in fairs and shows in the state, stepped up testing requirements for poultry and met with emergency-management officials to prepare in case of an outbreak.

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No cases of the avian flu have been reported in Maryland. But state officials say they’re reaching out to commercial farmers in the state’s $1 billion poultry industry and the growing number of backyard chicken enthusiasts.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian flu in 21 states since December. The disease spreads through the animals’ saliva, feces and nasal secretions.

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