Avian flu detected in Cowlitz County flock


September 1, 2022

Avian influenza, or bird flu, was detected in a small domestic flock in Cowlitz County last week, according to a press release from the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Numbers are expected to rise as fall migration begins. The case in Cowlitz County brings the statewide count to 34.

WSDA created an online reporting tool, https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/5e0bb3eaf3ae44b69cf6dcf34e89524e to make it easier to report sick and dead domestic birds online. There is also a hotline,1-800-606-3056, and another online reporting tool for wild birds through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a384e90f69744f2e846135a9ce80027f.

Washington State Veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle says bird owners should continue to take extra biosecurity measures through the fall. This includes keeping birds under cover or away from ponds or water sources shared with wild waterfowl.

The biggest risk to domestic flocks is direct contact with waterfowl.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Dr. Itle said. “It’s not safe to let them out for long periods of time where they may come in contact with the virus, but it’s also not safe to leave them in a hot coop.”

Veterinarians recommend that people don’t bring birds to fairs, exhibitions, poultry auctions and on-farm sales at this time.

Domestic birds that have already died should be double bagged and kept in a cooler on ice until WSDA veterinarians can arrange for sampling. Sick or dead wild birds should not be touched or moved and can be reported using the WDFW online reporting tool.

For more information on how to care for a domestic flock at this time, go to https://agr.wa.gov/departments/animals-livestock-and-pets/avian-health/avian-influenza. There is also a Facebook page run by WSDA called Washington Bird Flu Updates 2022 at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wabirdflu2022. Or one can read more about avian influenza in a story posted in the May 12, 2022 edition of The Wahkiakum County Eagle.


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