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Backyard flock in Spokane County tests positive for highly contagious avian influenza

This is Washington state's second confirmed detection of the avian influenza, with the first being on May 5 in Pacific County.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Service have confirmed that the highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in Spokane County.

The influenza was detected in a non-commercial backyard flock of 75 geese, chickens, ducks and guinea fowl.

This is Washington state's second confirmed detection of the avian influenza, with the first being on May 5 in Pacific County.

According to a press release from WSDA, a private veterinarian submitted a dead goose that exhibited "unusual behavior prior to death." This behavior included walking abnormally, shaking its head, not moving and exhibiting a lack of fear of humans. The owner reported other sick birds and an increased rate of mortality.

The virus, known as H5N1 avian influenza, was detected in the flock by WSU Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. At this time, there is no detection of the virus in commercial poultry in the state.

The Washington state veterinarian quarantined the affected premise and the infected birds have been euthanized to prevent spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

According to WSDA, there is no immediate health concern from the avian influenza. The virus does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat at this time.

WSDA advises commercial poultry farmers and backyard flock owners to be vigilant with bio-security measures and surveillance. Death or illness among domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at 1-800-606-3056. For wild birds, please use the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s online reporting tool

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