Second case of bird flu in Washington found in Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. — The second positive case of avian influenza in Washington was found in a non-commercial backyard flock in Spokane County.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the positive test on Saturday. The affected flock is a mix of about 75 geese, chickens, ducks and guinea fowl.

A private veterinarian submitted a dead goose that exhibited unusual behavior prior to death, including walking abnormally, shaking its head, not moving, and exhibiting a lack of fear of humans.

This marks the second confirmed case of the bird flu in Washington state, with the first being on Thursday in Pacific County.

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There are no detections in commercial poultry in the state. The infected birds were quarantined and euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

There is no immediate public health concern due to the avian influenza virus detected. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be properly cooked.

Avian influenza can be transmitted from wild birds to domestic birds through direct contact, fecal contamination, transmission through the air, environmental contamination, and shared water sources. Both wild and domestic waterfowl can be infected with the virus and not show signs of disease.

“This second detection demonstrates how Washington is not immune to this virus and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to avoid exposure to wild waterfowl and shorebirds,” Dr. Amber Itle, state veterinarian, said. “One step owners should continue to take is preventing contact between their birds and wild birds by eliminating access to ponds or standing water on your property and keeping different domestic species like ducks and geese penned separately from chickens and turkeys.”

Reducing or eliminating contact between wild birds and domestic flocks is the best way to protect domestic birds from the disease. Bird owners can bring their flocks inside and undercover to protect them from wild waterfowl.

Visit agr.wa.gov/birdflu or USDA’s Defend the Flock program for more information about the bird flu.

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