Whatcom County Health Department and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) ask the public to avoid contact with sick and dead birds to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), also called bird flu.
Western Washington, including Whatcom County, has seen periodic HPAI infections in backyard poultry flocks in the past year. The virus is spreading right now in wild birds migrating through the area, like Canada geese and snow geese. Close to 400 sick or dead geese were found recently at Wiser Lake, with several of them testing positive for HPAI. It is standard practice for DFW to test a representative sample and not every bird in situations like this.
What to do if you find a sick or dead wild bird or animal
How to protect your domestic flock from avian influenza
HPAI is very contagious among birds, but the risk to people is low. This current strain of bird flu does not appear to easily infect humans. As a precautionary measure, people who have had known contact with infected birds should contact the Whatcom County Health Department.
Chicken, eggs and other poultry and poultry products are safe to eat when properly handled and fully cooked. Be sure to follow these tips for safe handling and preparation of food.
For more information:
For more information on how to protect your backyard flock, visit the USDA’s Defend the Flock webpage.
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