With nine cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in seven counties across Washington, the state veterinarian has requested that live market poultry sales stop for the next 30 days. Washington state veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle noted the risk is real.

“If somebody brings in ducks, or geese and they’re carrying that virus and maybe not exhibiting clinical signs, and expose other birds at that market, then everybody who is at that market on the day, or at that exhibition on that day, has been exposed.  And then we’re going to send that out to all of those different buyers at those markets or swap meets or all of those exhibitors who might have had contact, and it would be, just devastating.”

Itle said the nine confirmed domestic cases have been reported by bird owners calling the WSDA’s sick bird hotline. Altogether, she noted the WSDA has taken 65 stick bird calls.

“So, we are really grateful that people are calling us and letting us know, and sometimes it might just be one bird, but we’re going to call you back anyway, our veterinarians follow up on every single call to help find the risk, talk you through biosecurity and figure out what’s the best plan is for your farm.”

At this point, there have been no cases of bird flu reported in commercial operations in Washington. Itle added if you see sick birds in your backyard flock to call their hotline. In the even you see a sick or dead wild bird, you are asked to call the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

To learn more about this strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or for ideas on biosecurity measures, visit WSDA's Website.

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