OREGON and WASHINGTON – Since its arrival in Washington state two weeks ago, highly pathogenic avian influenza has now hit nine backyard flocks in seven counties, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Tests confirmed the latest case in Thurston County Tuesday.
The WSDA tested the flock after the owner contacted the agency’s sick bird hotline reporting several dead and sick birds in the flock, which contains an unknown number of chickens, geese, guinea fowl and ducks. After the flock samples tested positive at state and national labs for HPAI, the state veterinarian quarantined the flock. The flock will be euthanized to contain the spread of the virus.
As with every flock that has tested positive for the flu so far, WSDA said the Thurston County flock had substantial exposure to wild waterfowl.
“It’s going to be especially important to keep flocks away from ponds where resident wild geese may be hatching out goslings,” WSDA Veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle said. “These ponds are highly likely to have heavy environmental contamination.”
Meanwhile, in Oregon, only two neighborhood flocks have been infected, but there are now reports of avian flu in wild birds in Alton Baker Park. Several Canada goose goslings have tested positive for the disease and more sick and dead waterfowl have been observed. Also a red-tailed hawk from Eugene and an osprey from east of Cottage Grove have also tested positive. The two backyard flocks impacted were in Linn and Lane counties.
The websites for both states’ Department of Agriculture have numbers to call if people suspect they have information about the avian flu.
Photo by Tammy Heckathorn of mallards in Delta Ponds, Eugene