WASHINGTON — On Oct. 21, an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was confirmed in Rhode Island, the first case the state has seen.

Affecting 40 birds, the outbreak occurred in a non-commercial backyard flock in Newport County, RI. The flock was part of an animal rescue and rehabilitation operation.

Samples from the flock were tested at the University of Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the positive results at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

According to APHIS, Rhode Island officials quarantined the affected areas, and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease.

To date, 247 commercial flocks and 305 backyard flocks have been affected, resulting in a total of 47.73 million birds culled.