Bird flu, which is spreading rapidly in the United States, has been found in the Northwest Pacific in two flocks of backyard birds in rural Oregon and Washington.
Several geese in a non-commercial flock of about 100 waterfowl died suddenly on a farm in Lynn County, Oregon, and federal officials confirmed on Friday that they had died from bird flu. It was the first case in the state since 2015. Also Friday, Washington authorities received information that chickens and turkeys in a flock of about 50 birds on a non-commercial farm in Pacific County, Washington, also had the disease.
All birds in both states were euthanized on Friday and farms were quarantined.
The latest outbreak of bird flu hit North America in December, killing about 37 million chickens and turkeys on U.S. farms since February. More than 35 million birds in flocks in 30 states have been affected.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed 956 cases of bird flu in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles. But the actual number is likely to be significantly higher, as not every dead wild bird has been tested and the federal number does not include cases registered by wildlife rehabilitation centers.
The discovery of bird flu in the Northwest Pacific was not unexpected, as the virus is spreading rapidly across the country to both domestic and wild birds, especially waterfowl. The virus appears to be spreading as wild birds migrate north on the Pacific Summer Road, and sometimes these birds stop to rest in domestic flocks, said Dana Dobbs, a veterinarian in Washington State.
An infected bald eagle was discovered in British Columbia, Canada, in early March, said Dr. Ryan Scholz, Oregon’s state veterinarian.
“The long and short thing is that the producer noticed that one day a crow flew in with some of his chickens, and the next day he literally described them falling like flies,” she said.
“We want to limit and eradicate this disease as soon as possible to protect our commercial poultry farm, as well as some of our backyard flocks that sell eggs and do things like that.”
The cases do not pose a risk to humans, and farm birds are not used for food.
Wildlife authorities in the Pacific Northwest said on Friday that the virus appears to affect mostly waterfowl, but people who feed songbirds need to take extra steps to frequently clean their feeders from being overly cautious.
There have been no findings of bird flu in commercial poultry in any state, agricultural officials said Friday.
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