Efforts underway to mitigate spread of bird flu following positive test in Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. — Avian influenza is making its way around poultry farms across the United States, and it just recently hit Spokane County.

In less than a week, the first two cases of the bird flu were confirmed in Washington. The first positive case was in Pacific County and the second in Spokane County, which affected more than 70 birds.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture said this could impact more birds later due to the high transmissibility of the disease.

“This virus is wildly contagious. It can spread through water sources, and even through the air. A lot of migratory birds have it and spread it. They show no symptoms. They are migrating North and stopping wherever they need to stop, defecating wherever they need to,” said Amy Betts, Media Relations Coordinator of the WSDA.

The bird flu is already present in 34 different states, now including Washington. The local case is concerning for many, especially poultry farmers.

“We never had anything like this happen. I mean it would completely devastate our farm. Half of our farm incomes come from sales of eggs chicken and eggs, it would be very bad,” said Lucas Miranda, a local poultry farm owner.

Avian influenza is growing on a national scale, with more than 37 million birds having been affected by the virus. It’s rampant in some areas, causing some farms to kill off all their birds or quarantine.

“We love doing farm tours but right now, the risk of biocontamination, it’s just too high. We just have to wait,” Miranda said.

Many preventative measures are now in place to make sure the bird flu doesn’t spread across the state.

“It’s incredibly important to follow biosecurity practices. You need to make sure you are passing the virus one area to another.”

It’s quite the contagious virus, as it could be spread through shoes or clothes. So far, there’s only been one case of a human testing positive for the bird flu, and the hope is it’ll stay that way.

“It’s not a big threat to human health,” Betts said. “It doesn’t intervene through the food system.”

As long as eggs and meat are properly cooked, there is no current concern about bird flu in humans.

“Eggs are huge portion of society, a part of economy,” Miranda said. “I hope that it doesn’t spread much further.”

If you see any birds showing symptoms of the bird flu, like lack of fear towards humans, then you are encouraged to contact the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife immediately.

READ: Second case of bird flu in Washington found in Spokane County

READ: Bird flu found in Western Washington