Avian Influenza found in Backyard Poultry Flock in Southeast Washington

Avian Influenza found in Backyard Poultry Flock in Southeast Washington

Avian influenza has been found in a backyard poultry flock in southeast Washington, but despite this the state officials state that there is no public health concern at the moment.

According to State Agriculture Department officials, the virus has not been found in commercial poultry in Washington or at another place in the United States. Officials said that the virus does not poses any apparent threat to humans but there is a possibility that highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and sometimes to wild birds.

The Agriculture Department has been contacted by the owner of the flock close to Benton City. The contact was made when owner lost about 50 birds in the past week. The state Agriculture Department is going to work with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials.

The highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus that is confirmed in the flock is like to the virus that was found last month in a Washington captive gyrfalcon. Further testing is being carried out to identify the strain, according to officials.

According to the USDA, a separate strain of the H5 virus was found in a wild duck and in other parts of the world both viruses have also been found. But these viruses have not caused any human infection so far.

"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", said state veterinarian Dr. Joe Baker. Adding to it, Dr. Joe Baker also said that one step owners must take is avoiding contact between their birds and wild birds.

Poultry meat or egg products have not been affected by avian influenza. Last month, the presence of a strain of the H5 virus has been confirmed by federal agricultural officials in guinea fowl and chickens. These were present in a backyard poultry flock located in the southern Oregon community of Winston.

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