In December, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5 avian influenza in Whatcom County, Washington, in Winston, Oregon and in Butte County, California. This week, as a result of increased surveillance in the Pacific flyway, USDA has confirmed the presence of HPAI in a backyard flock in Benton County, Washington.
On December 30, a backyard flock in Benton County, Washington, was reported to the State as experiencing high mortality in approximately 100 turkeys and some chickens. The flock was kept outdoors. Samples tested positive for H5 on a PCR test at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a NAHLN laboratory, on December 31; samples were sent January 2 to NVSL for confirmatory testing. On January 3, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories identified an avian influenza virus subtype H5N2, with 99% similarity to the recent H5N2 isolated from the duck at Wiser Lake, Washington, and to the strain circulating in British Columbia, Canada. The flock was depopulated today (January 5). The APHIS incident management team that was deployed on December 29 to help manage the backyard flock case in Oregon is now assisting with the Washington case.
This detection will be included in our regular updates to OIE; immediate notification is not required because these detections are considered part of the Pacific flyway event.
The findings are not unexpected, given wild waterfowl migratory patterns within the Pacific flyway. APHIS Veterinary Services continues to work with States on biosecurity messaging and with Wildlife Services on enhanced surveillance in wild birds.
We ask that you continue to encourage all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through the state veterinarian or through USDA's toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
There has been no High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) found in commercial poultry in the United States. High Pathogenic Avian Influenza causes high mortality in poultry. It is spread by bird to bird contact or on inanimate objects such as clothing, trucks, trailers, equipment or contaminated litter and feed. Avian Influenza is potentially zoonotic, meaning it can be spread from poultry to people. There is no evidence at this time that this current strain found in the Pacific Northwest is capable of causing Human sickness.
In Georgia, we have had no HPAI. We have a large Commercial Poultry Industry and avid backyard poultry enthusiasts. It is important that we maintain vigilant watch to prevent disease introduction into our flocks. It is important to prevent contact with wild birds and to report any sick birds. The Georgia Department of Agriculture is working with producers , industry and USDA to provide guidance and assistance. You may report any sick birds to the State Veterinarian's office at 404-656-3671.