WSDA cries fowl as bird flu hits commercial livestock population

Dec 19, 2022, 8:36 AM | Updated: 10:16 am
bird flu...
Chickens seen around the windows near sunny spot to keep warm during the temperature decrease. With temperatures dropping down below freezing, the jobs of farmers becomes more difficult. Keeping the animals warm and healthy takes priority. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Some commercial livestock is being infected by contagious avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, according to the Washinton State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

There is “little to no risk” to the public at this time, the WSDA says.

A “large operation reported high numbers of sudden death in their chickens in a single barn at one of their farms” last week. Other birds showed signs of lethargy and illness, which prompted an investigation by state and federal veterinarians.

Bald Eagle with bird flu found in West Seattle park

Avian flu is an extremely contagious virus to birds, but something officials say isn’t easily spread to people. All the same, officials advise the public to avoid all contact with sick and dead birds for fear that they will spread the disease. Pets should also avoid dead birds as dogs can become infected.

While officials have not yet confirmed that the birds have tested positive for avian flu, some of those checked showed a “non-negative” result leading officials to assume that they are positive for bird flu until more testing is done.

The holding facility for the flock where the disease has been found is under quarantine to limit the spread of the infectious disease, with WSDA euthanizing all birds on the premises.

There is currently a nationwide outbreak of avian influenza on many commercial poultry farms, forcing the euthanasia of more than 47 million chickens and turkeys. It has also led to a dramatic increase in the price of poultry at the supermarket. In the past year, there have been 250 commercial flock detections in 24 states across the country, but this is the first commercial case in Washington state this year.

There is an outbreak of avian flu among the wild bird population after several birds were found dead around Wiser Lake in Whatcom County.

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WSDA cries fowl as bird flu hits commercial livestock population