More cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza are showing up in Washington state, as state agriculture officials say the most recent cases in domestic birds occurred in the Tacoma and Port Angeles areas. Cases are also ballooning in Idaho.
Between the two affected flocks in Pierce County, there were a mixture of turkeys, chickens, peacocks, ducks, and waterfowl, according to the state Department of Agriculture. The cases were confirmed May 10, and the state veterinarian quarntined both premises and was preparing to euthanize the infected birds, according to a release.
Two more infected flocks were confirmed late May 11 in Clallam County -- one flock of a dozen geese and the other of 10 chickens. The most recent discoveries bring the total number of infected flocks in Washington to seven.
Washington wildlife officials confirmed two cases of HPAI in wild birds- a bald eagle at Loon Lake in Stevens County and a Canada goose in Whatcom County, the WSDA reported. There were eight more wild bird cases being investigated as of late May 11.
The latest detections follow positive tests last week in backyard flocks in Washington's Pacific and Spokane counties and in Linn County, Ore.
“Avian influenza is here,” state veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle said. “Whether it has been confirmed in your county yet or not, you should be taking steps to protect your birds and prevent the spread of this virus which could wipe out your flock.”
Since HPAI was confirmed in three flocks in Idaho on May 15, state officials have found the disease in four additional flocks, bringing the number of reported infections in the Gem State to seven, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
With cases of avian influenza piling up in the northwest, officials are urging bird owners to double down on biosecurity measures.
“With so many suspicious cases in wild birds pending investigation, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to avoid exposing your flock to wild waterfowl and shorebirds,” Itle said. “Call us if you suspect your own birds are sick and report sick wild birds to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
Outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu have devastated commercial poultry operations in the Midwest this year, killing over 37 million chickens and turkeys. HPAI has yet to show up in commercial flocks in the West, but the disease has already been found in backyard flocks in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho.
[This story has been updated.]