PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Officials in Oregon and Washington announced Friday they have detected bird flu in non-commercial backyard flocks.
The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was found in Linn County, Oregon and is the first confirmed case in the state since 2015.
According to the ODA, the disease is highly contagious among wild and domestic birds. Despite, the detection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no immediate public health concern.
“We knew HPAI was coming our way after a bald eagle in British Columbia tested positive in early March,” Dr. Ryan Scholz, State Veterinarian, Oregon Department of Agriculture said. “Since that detection, we have been hard at work communicating with our commercial poultry producers, veterinarians, and the public on how they can protect their flocks. Now more than ever, all bird owners must practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual deaths so ODA can ensure testing.”
Officials said the owner of the Linn County flock reported the deaths and took two of the birds to Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for sample testing.
According to the ODA, bird flu has not been detected in Oregon’s commercial poultry.
Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Agriculture also detected bird flu in a non-commercial backyard flock in Pacific County. The virus has also not been detected in the state’s commercial poultry.
Officials in both states said birds on the affected properties will be humanely euthanized to prevent further spread of the disease.
“We have a vigorous response plan but this development demonstrates how important good biosecurity can be, especially for backyard bird owners,” Dr. Amber Itle, state veterinarian, said. “We have not diagnosed the virus anywhere else in our domestic poultry population, but the presence of the virus in migratory waterfowl is a risk to backyard poultry. One step owners should take is preventing contact between their birds and wild birds.”
Deaths or illness among domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at 1-800-606-3056. For wild birds, you can use Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s online reporting tool.
Oregon officials are continuing to monitor the area and reminds the public to not touch a sick or dying bird and instead report it. Domestic birds can be reported to ODA at 1-800-347-7028 or email email@example.com For wild birds, report to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by calling 1-866-968-2600.
Signs of avian influenza:
• Sudden death without any prior symptoms of illness
• Lack of energy and appetite
• A drop in egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs
• Swelling of the eyelids, comb, wattles, and shanks
• Purple discoloration of the wattles, comb, and legs
• Gasping for air (difficulty breathing)
• Nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing
• Twisting of the head and neck (torticollis)
• Stumbling or falling down