With cases of avian influenza adding up across the state, the Washington state veterinarian is asking bird owners to double down on biosecurity measures. On Wednesday, the WSDA announced the confirmation multiple cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in non-commercial backyard flocks in Pierce County. State Veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle said those cases were first discovered after the owners contacted the WSDA’s sick bird hotline to report an unusual number of deaths.

“If you have just one sick bird, or you wake up tomorrow morning and just one bird is dead, we probably wouldn’t be alarmed.  But if you have several birds in your flock that are sick or dead, we definitely would encourage you to call us, so we can help talk that through with you and make a decision whether you should see your private veterinarian, or whether its something that one of our veterinarians can follow up with you.”

The WSDA has quarantined the Piece County property, and the remaining birds will be euthanized.

In addition to cases in backyard flocks, the state is following cases in wildlife. Itle said HPAI cases have been confirmed in Stevens, Whatcom and Grant counties, with eight more cases currently under investigation. She noted it’s important to remember these wildlife detections mean that Bird Flu is "everywhere".

“It’s not about one premise, it’s not about knowing exactly where that last detection is, it’s about understanding that our risk is everywhere in the state, so anywhere that there are wild birds, there’s a risk of avian influenza.”

Unusual deaths or illness among domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056.  Report dead or sick wild birds using the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s On-line reporting tool. Visit the WSDA's Website or the USDA's Defend the Flock program for more information about avian influenza and protecting flocks from this disease.

For more from Itel, Click Here.

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