Avian Flu Detected in More Birds in Washington state
What began as an outbreak in Benton County has spread to other parts of state, but largely due to migrating wildlife.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of the highly contagious H5N2 avian flu virus in a flock tested near Port Angeles. The tests began and were confirmed on Friday and over the weekend.
Officials confirmed the tests after a large number of the mixed flock of birds died abruptly. The fast-moving flu, which is NOT harmful to humans, has likely been spread by migratory waterfowl and other birds who come in contact with flocks kept by farmers and citizens on their property - often called "backyard" flocks. As the birds move around the area and state, they bring the virus with them.
118 remaining birds in the Port Angeles flock included ducks, geese and other birds. They were humanely euthanized to prevent more spreading of the virus. Over 700 birds have been euthanized in Benton County after two flocks in Benton City and Richland were found to have the flu. It was likely due to contact with migratory waterfowl at a nearby pond.
The flu has caused numerous countries, including China and Europe, to ban all U.S. poultry imports until the strain passes. While poultry and eggs from infected animals can still be eaten, foreign officials fear a spread of the flu that could kill thousands of their waterfowl birds.