SRHD advises public to avoid sick and dead wildlife due to bird flu
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Regional Health District is asking the public to avoid contact with wildlife, especially sick or dead wild birds or their young.
The bird flu, or avian flu, is a highly pathogenic disease that is impacting wild birds including, but not limited to, Canada geese, snow geese, and raptors across the country. It has also been found in wild mammals, including a raccoon in Spokane County.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says the spread of bird flu from birds to wild mammals may be concerning, but it is not something to panic about. The spread of the virus to humans remains unlikely and very rare.
SRHD recommends you do the following to protect your health:
- Do not touch or handle any sick or dead wildlife
- Bird hunters should follow standard safety steps to avoid exposure
- Properly handle and cook chicken, eggs and other poultry products
- Wash hands and sanitize surfaces and equipment before and after contact with raw poultry
- Don’t wash meat, chicken, turkey, or eggs as it could spread germs
- Separate raw and cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination
- Keep poultry stored at 40° F or below
- Make sure your pets do not come in contact with dead or sick animals
Here is how to report both wild and domestic sick and dead birds:
- Use an online form to report sick/dead wild birds suspected of avian influenza to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
- Report sick/dead domestic birds to Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Avian Health Program: 1-800-606-3056 or visit Avian Influenza | Washington State Department of Agriculture for more information about how to protect backyard flocks.
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