OLYMPIA – A backyard flock in Kitsap County tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on June 29. Kitsap is the 11th county with bird flu detected in domestic flocks, with 27 infected flocks statewide. All infected flocks have had contact with wild waterfowl, which are known to transmit the virus without showing symptoms.
Protecting uninfected flocks includes continuing to avoid fairs, exhibitions, poultry auctions, and on-farm sales until at least 30 days after the last detection.
“It’s devastating for owners and our veterinarian alike. A fair or exhibition could be a venue to spread the virus that could result in the death of all birds that attend the fair,” Dr. Amber Itle, Washington state veterinarian said. “Although it is disappointing, we need to continue to take enhanced steps to protect our domestic flocks as long as we continue to have HPAI detections in the state.”
The unseasonably cold, wet conditions have changed migration patterns of migratory birds and because of that, the virus continues to persist in the environment, state veterinarians believe.
If fairs choose to resume before the recommended time, Dr. Itle says enhanced biosecurity is critical to protecting poultry flocks from the accidental introduction of HPAI into your fairs. Please consider these additional biosecurity precautions to prevent infection as you resume exhibitions:
- Stagger show times and days for gallinaceous birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl) and waterfowl (geese, ducks, swans).
- Show the vulnerable species first (gallinaceous) for first few days, send them home, clean and disinfect the cages, and then bring in waterfowl for exhibition the second half.
- Birds should be kept in individual cages and commingling of birds should be avoided at all times.
- Sick birds should be denied entry, sent home, and the state veterinarian should be notified on the sick bird hotline 1-800-606-3056.
- Signage about avian influenza risks and signs should be posted.
WSDA has numerous resources for flock owners to learn about bird flu and protect their flocks, including a bird flu webpage with information about each confirmed flock with HPAI, an interactive map, frequently asked questions, as well as and a Facebook group dedicated to updates about bird flu in Washington. The interactive map shows all detections statewide. The gray circle indicates where a detection was, but the monitoring period has passed.
If your flock experiences sudden death or illness of multiple birds, call WSDA’s Sick Bird Hotline at 1-800-606-3056. Birds that have already died should be double-bagged and kept in a cooler on ice until WSDA veterinarians can arrange for sampling. Do not allow scavenger birds access to dead domestic birds as this can further spread the virus.
Sick or dead wild birds should be reported using the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s online reporting tool.
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June 30, 2022, 17:54 GMT
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