SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday that both the junior and senior open live poultry shows at the Illinois State Fair have been cancelled as a result of bird flu.

“The Department works year-round to promote biosecurity for all livestock producers,” said Dr. Mark Ernst, IDOSA State Veterinarian. “With the current situation, it remains important for all of us to be responsible and protect against the spread of avian influenza during the Illinois State Fair and county fairs.”

The Department’s emergency rules took effect on April 5 and can remain into effect up to 150 days. The emergency rule prohibits the sale or exhibiting of poultry and poultry products at swap meets, exhibitions, flea markets, and auction markets in Illinois to prevent the spread of bird flu.

State Fair junior poultry exhibitors will continue to have an opportunity to receive recognition and premiums through a virtual poster competition. Rules and entry requirements can be found online and the deadline to enter is July 15.

While the State Fair’s shows have been cancelled, county fair 4-H shows will continue virtually, as they have been since the season started. These shows allow youth exhibitors to demonstrate through posters and/or virtual exhibition.

“It is our commitment that 4-H youth will still have an opportunity to exhibit, win premiums, and get judged with their 4-H poultry project this year – it will just be in a virtual manner which has proved successful in the early part of the county fair season,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.

Flock owners, mangers or veterinarians should report any usual findings in domestic poultry to the IDOA at 217-782-4944 or the U.S. department of Agriculture at 866-536-7593. These findings may be an increase in mortality, decrease in water consumption or egg production or respiratory signs like coughing or sneezing.