Bird flu has been confirmed in the Washington herd

A rapidly spreading bird flu virus has been detected across the United States in a non-commercial herd of Washington in Pacific County, the state Department of Agriculture said Friday.

So far, more than 37 million chickens and turkeys have died and more are expected to die in the coming months, as the virus is fast becoming the worst outbreak in the country.

State and federal labs on Thursday tested samples collected from the Pacific County herd to detect bird flu, after owners reported sick birds and a rising mortality rate, according to a state agency statement.

It is the first detection of the virus so far in 2022, according to WSDA, which said the herd has been quarantined and will be euthanized to prevent further spread.

However, some positive preliminary cases of bird flu are still awaiting confirmation, according to Dr. Kristin Mansfield of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. These birds include a sand crane in Connell, Washington, a Canadian goose in Whatcom County and a snow goose in Moses Lake, he said.

No cases of bird flu have been identified in Washington’s commercial poultry industry and there are currently no immediate public health issues, the WSDA said Friday. Avian flu does not affect meat or poultry eggs.

“We have a strong response plan, but this development shows how important good biosecurity can be, especially for backyard bird owners,” said Dr. Amber Itle, a state veterinarian, in a statement.

WSDA is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Inspection Service and held a joint press conference with the Oregon Department of Agriculture on Friday, along with health and wildlife officials from both states.

Oregon officials also confirmed Friday that several geese from a non-commercial flock of waterfowl died suddenly of bird flu on a farm in Linn County, Oregon, the state’s first case since 2015. the Associated Press reported.

Some 34 states have reported cases or outbreaks since the last outbreak affected North America, said Dr. Dana R. Dobbs of WSDA during the press conference. It has also killed nearly 2 million poultry in Canada, with cases reported in several provinces.

The outbreak is largely spread by migratory birds and can spread through direct contact, aerosols, fecal or water contamination and contaminated feed, said Dobbs, who also noted that the migration pattern of wild birds has been somewhat strange “due to the recent weather.

“I would have expected it to be gone by now, and we were literally holding our breath as we passed the Pacific Flyway, but now, unfortunately, we’re involved,” he said.

As of May 6, the USDA has identified more than 1,000 cases of bird flu among wild birds in 25 states.

Backyard flock owners should bring covert birds or cover their cubes if possible, clean up any food spills, restrict visitors to the farm, especially other poultry owners, and buy feed only. of national poultry breeding sources that are subject to strict inspections, Dobbs said.

The risk of spreading bird flu to humans, however, is low, even with a confirmed case of a person involved in the killing of infected birds in Colorado, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal government guidelines require farms to euthanize entire commercial herds if a bird is positive for bird flu. According to Bloomberg, millions of Iowa barn animals have been drowned in high temperatures or poisonous foam.

The bird flu last hit the United States in 2015 and killed about 50 million animals. That cost the federal government more than $ 1 billion in killing and burying birds, according to a Bloomberg report.

WSDA advises commercial poultry farmers and rear herd owners to monitor for possible bird flu cases and report deaths or illnesses of poultry to the state’s Avian Health Program at 1-800-606 -3056.

For more information and resources, visit the USDA’s Defend the Flock Web site: st.news/birdflu.

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