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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:39 am 
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Avian flu confirmed in wild birds in US
Updated: 9:11 pm, Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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US agriculture officials have found avian influenza in wild birds in Washington state but say there's no immediate public health concern.

The US Department of Agriculture said separate strains of the H5 virus were identified in a northern pintail duck and a gyrfalcon.

Both viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date, the USDA said. Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry in the US.

An avian influenza outbreak this month in southwest British Columbia spread to several poultry farms, and 155,000 birds have died of the virus or will be euthanised, Canadian officials said last week.

'There's really no reason to panic. This does not represent an increased risk to people,' said Dr. Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

'There's very little to no risk of these viruses affecting people.'

The state's two confirmed cases are a captive falcon with the H5N8 strain of avian flu, and a wild duck with the H5N2 strain, said Hector Castro, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.

The falcon had been fed wild birds killed by hunters.

Castro said that after the Canadian outbreak, the state stepped up random testing in domestic poultry flocks near the border and put out information to other bird owners.

The falcon was diagnosed after its owner took it to a veterinarian, who then reported its death to the state. A USDA lab in Iowa confirmed the virus over the weekend.

AAP

- See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/nt ... pewZ2.dpuf

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:56 am 
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Avian flu confirmed in wild birds in Washington state; officials say no immediate health concern
By Phuong Le, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS December 17, 2014 6:18 AM
Avian flu confirmed in wild birds in Washington state; officials say no immediate health concern


SEATTLE - Agriculture officials said Tuesday they've found avian influenza in wild birds in Washington state but there's no immediate public health concern.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said separate strains of the H5 virus were identified in a northern pintail duck and a gyrfalcon.

Both viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date, the USDA said. Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry in the U.S.

An avian influenza outbreak this month in southwest British Columbia spread to several poultry farms, and 155,000 birds have died of the virus or will be euthanized, Canadian officials said last week.

"There's really no reason to panic. This does not represent an increased risk to people," said Dr. Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "There's very little to no risk of these viruses affecting people."

The state's two confirmed cases are a captive falcon with the H5N8 strain of avian flu, and a wild duck with the H5N2 strain, said Hector Castro, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture. The falcon had been fed wild birds killed by hunters.

Castro said that after the Canadian outbreak, the state stepped up random testing in domestic poultry flocks near the border and put out information to other bird owners. The falcon was diagnosed after its owner took it to a veterinarian, who then reported its death to the state. A USDA lab in Iowa confirmed the virus over the weekend.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was an outbreak of the H5N2 virus in a flock of chickens in Texas in 2004. That was the first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 20 years, the CDC said.

In Washington, the viruses were detected in Whatcom County, which is on the Canadian border, but Mansfield said officials do not yet know whether the flu spread from British Columbia.

"There are many strains of avian influenza, and it is not uncommon for wild waterfowl to carry the virus," said Dr. Joe Baker, Washington's state veterinarian. He said it's critical for poultry owners to take steps to protect their birds from wild fowl.

The bird flu strain that has caused the most global concern is H5N1, which began ravaging poultry across Asia in 2003 and is more easily spread among humans.


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/metro/ ... z3MAfSDiko

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:47 pm 
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Release No. 0273.14
Contact:
APHIS Press Office: Joelle Hayden (301) 851-4040
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410
USGS Press: Catherine Puckett (352) 377-2469
CDC Press: (404) 639-3286

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Highly Pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza Confirmed in Wild Birds in Washington State H5N2 Found in Northern Pintail Ducks & H5N8 Found in Captive Gyrfalcons
Neither virus found in commercial poultry in U.S.; no public health concern at this time
WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2014 — The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic (HPAI) H5 avian influenza in wild birds in Whatcom County, Washington. Two separate virus strains were identified: HPAI H5N2 in northern pintail ducks and HPAI H5N8 in captive Gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds. Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States and no human cases with these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally. There is no immediate public health concern with either of these avian influenza viruses.

Both H5N2 and H5N8 viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date. While neither virus has been found in commercial poultry, federal authorities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also emphasize that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat even if they carry the disease if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The finding in Whatcom County was reported and identified quickly due to increased surveillance for avian influenza in light of HPAI H5N2 avian influenza outbreaks in poultry affecting commercial poultry farms in British Columbia, Canada. The northern pintail duck samples were collected by officials from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife following a waterfowl die-off at Wiser Lake, Washington, and were sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center for diagnostic evaluation and initial avian influenza testing. The U.S. Department of the Interior's USGS, which also conducts ongoing avian influenza testing of wild bird mortality events, identified the samples as presumptive positive for H5 avian influenza and sent them to USDA for confirmation. The gyrfalcon samples were collected after the falconer reported signs of illness in his birds.

Following existing avian influenza response plans, USDA is working with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as State partners on additional surveillance and testing of both commercial and wild birds in the nearby area.

Wild birds can be carriers of HPAI viruses without the birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

HPAI would have significant economic impacts if detected in U.S. domestic poultry. Commercial poultry producers follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in very controlled environments. Federal officials emphasize that all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue practicing good biosecurity. This includes preventing contact between your birds and wild birds, and reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your 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.

CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds to be low because (like H5N1) these viruses do not now infect humans easily, and even if a person is infected, the viruses do not spread easily to other people.

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by influenza type A viruses which are endemic in some wild birds (such as wild ducks and swans) which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese and guinea fowl). AI viruses are classified by a combination of two groups of proteins: hemagglutinin or "H" proteins, of which there are 17 (H1–H17), and neuraminidase or "N" proteins, of which there are 10 (N1–N10). Many different combinations of "H" and "N" proteins are possible. Each combination is considered a different subtype, and can be further broken down into different strains. AI viruses are further classified by their pathogenicity—the ability of a particular virus to produce disease in domestic chickens.

For more information visit the USDA avian influenza page and the USDA APHIS avian influenza page. For more information on avian influenza and wild birds, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usd ... donly=true

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:33 pm 
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Two strains of “highly pathogenic” bird flu have been found in Washington state’s Whatcom County, which lies along the Canadian border just south of the Lower Mainland.


The disease was found in northern pintail ducks and gyrfalcons – both wild birds not kept on farms.

This comes just weeks after the discovery of a highly virulent strain of the disease in southern British Columbia that has affected up to 10 farms, leading to several countries restricting Canadian poultry imports.

One of the strains found in Whatcom county was H5N2 – the same disease found in B.C. The other strain has not been found in this province.

It has not been confirmed whether or not the H5N2 spread to Washington state from B.C., but the disease was detected because of testing done by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in response to the B.C. outbreak.

Both the Canadian and the American governments have announced that there is no public health concern for humans.


“Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States and no human cases with these viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally,” the USDA said December 17.

The USDA said it now monitoring both commercial and wild birds in Whatcom County.

On the same day of the announcement, BMO announced a relief program for Canadian farmers affected by the epidemic.

The program will include deferral of loan payments, the implementation of flexible terms on lines of credit and waivers of new loan applications.

“… affected poultry producers are no doubt feeling a great deal of uncertainty around what the next few days, weeks and months will bring in light of the recent events surrounding avian influenza,” said BMO’s Mike Bonner, senior vice-president, B.C. and Yukon division.

ecrawford@biv.com

@EmmaHampelBIV

http://www.biv.com/article/2014/12/avia ... ton-state/

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:36 pm 
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Pathogenic Bird Flu Found in Wild Birds in Washington State: USDA
No cases of pathogenic bird flu have been found in commercial U.S. poultry flocks
Published on: Dec 17, 2014

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Wednesday confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza in wild birds in Whatcom County, Wash.

Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States and no human cases with these viruses has been detected in the United States, Canada or internationally. There is no immediate public health concern with either of these avian influenza viruses, USDA said.

Two separate virus strains were identified: HPAI H5N2 in northern pintail ducks and HPAI H5N8 in captive Gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds.

Both H5N2 and H5N8 viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date.

Bird flu outbreaks could have trade implications if countries ban imports from affected regions.
Bird flu outbreaks could have trade implications if countries ban imports from affected regions.
Such outbreaks can have trade implications as countries have banned imports of poultry products from infected regions. The Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this month said the United States and Taiwan were among a few countries that imposed trade restrictions on poultry from British Columbia.

A Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group report released this week said global issues such as avian flu and trade restrictions remain on the horizon for the poultry industry in 2015 and will have a big impact on global poultry trade. Regions affected by avian flu outbreaks, like the EU and Canada, will suffer from lost export markets and this will affect local prices.

Related: Avian Flu Will Have Notable Impact on Poultry Trade: Report

"Several avian flu strains are already endemic in several parts of Asia and Mexico, and the disease is increasingly spreading globally via wild birds," explained Rabobank analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder.

Washington state is not a major poultry producer and in 2012 did not export any poultry meat, according to state agriculture department data. In 2012, the value of broiler production ranked 20th and eggs ranked 15th among the state’s agriculture products.

While neither virus has been found in U.S. commercial poultry, USDA officials emphasized that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat even if they carry the disease if properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Related: OIE Recommends Strengthening Animal Disease Surveillance

The finding in Whatcom County was identified due to increased surveillance for avian influenza following HPAI H5N2 avian influenza outbreaks in poultry in British Columbia, Canada.

Following existing avian influenza response plans, USDA is working with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as State partners on additional surveillance and testing of both commercial and wild birds in the nearby area.

http://farmfutures.com/story-pathogenic ... a-0-121669

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:39 pm 
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Bird flu found in wild Whatcom County birds
0NewsDecember 18, 2014 A+A-SHARE ON EMAILEMAILSHARE ON PRINTPRINT
By Steve Guntli



Two separate strains of avian flu have been confirmed in Whatcom County.

On December 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that H5N2 avian flu had been found in wild northern pintail ducks. H5N8 flu was found in a captive gyrfalcon, which had been fed hunter-killed wild birds.

Avian flu is highly contagious and can be devastating to birds, but is harmless to humans if the poultry has been cooked properly. There has never been
a reported case of humans becoming sick from the avian flu in the U.S., though there have been a few cases in foreign countries, where people have been in close continuous contact with infected birds.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) will hold a town meeting so poultry owners can learn how to protect their birds at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 18, at the Mount Baker Rotary Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden.

The department of agriculture has been monitoring the area for bird flu after a recent outbreak in southwestern British Columbia. Seven farms in Fraser Valley are confirmed to have the disease. Nearly 160,000 birds have either died from the disease or will be euthanized. The latest outbreak is the fifth to strike Fraser Valley in 10 years. In 2004, more than 17 million birds were euthanized.

The viruses found the U.S. are different from the ones found in Canada, and it’s too soon to tell if the strains are related, according to the USDA.

Bird owners can prevent their birds from becoming infected by restricting any contact with wild birds. The virus is spread through direct contact with infected birds, through contaminated equipment and through the air over short distances, according to the USDA.

Birds with the flu will show a decreased appetite, lowered egg production, excessive thirst, coughing, sneezing and greenish diarrhea.

Any suspected illness in domestic birds should be reported to the USDA’s Avian Health program by calling 800/606-3056. Sick and dead birds should be reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 800/606-8768. Anyone with concerns about the illness spreading to humans should call the Washington Department of Health at 800/525-0127.

http://www.thenorthernlight.com/2014/12 ... nty-birds/

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:00 am 
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Bird flu in Whatcom County linked to Wiser Lake area
BY KIE RELYEA
The Bellingham Herald
December 17, 2014

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD |Buy Photo Flu Follow Flu Follow Flu Follow

The two separate strains of bird flu traced to wild birds in Whatcom County have been linked to the Wiser Lake area, which is three miles southwest of Lynden.

Tests identified the H5N2 virus in a northern pintail duck and H5N8 in four captive gyrfalcons fed what is believed to be a wild widgeon killed by a hunter, according to Hon Ip, a virologist with the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

The pintail was part of a small die-off of birds at Wiser Lake and the widgeon came from an area near the lake, Ip said Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Remains of the widgeon were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa for tests to confirm that it was the carrier of the virus that sickened the gyrfalcons, according to Ip. At least three of the falcons have died.

Bird flu can be deadly to poultry and other birds. Its confirmation in Whatcom County has created concern among officials and residents here, including those with backyard chicken flocks, who are following news of an outbreak of bird flu in commercial poultry just over the border in British Columbia.

And while the outbreak in Canada also has been linked to a H5N2 strain of the disease, Ip said officials don’t yet know if it’s exactly the same strain found in the pintail duck at Wiser Lake.

“We don’t have enough information between our virus and the Canadian virus to say that they’re identical. There’s a lot of similarities. We think the two viruses are related,” Ip said.

Officials also don’t yet know whether wild birds at Wiser Lake spread the disease north to poultry operations in Canada, or whether Wiser Lake birds were exposed to the virus from those commercial poultry operations.

The bird flu cases in Whatcom County were found quickly because of increased surveillance due to the B.C. outbreak, officials have said. But Ip also said that die-offs at Wiser Lake are tested for bird flu “as a precaution to monitor for these kinds of introduction.”

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife collected the pintail duck after a die-off of about 50 to 100 wild birds at Wiser Lake over a short period of time, Ip said. Such die-offs aren’t usual for this time of the year at the lake, where some 10,000 birds gather, and officials suspected poisoning from lead shot or a fungal disease called aspergillosis.

Most of the birds those birds that died at Wiser Lake did so because of aspergillosis, according to Ip.

Officials tracking the bird flu once again stressed on Wednesday that the H5N2 and H5N8 strains weren’t an immediate health concern for people because they have been found elsewhere in the world and have yet to infect humans.

And there hasn’t been a reported case of a person in the U.S. sickened with bird flu from an infected bird.

Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. And neither virus has been in the U.S. until now.

Still, agriculture officials said that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat even if they did carry the disease if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, a town hall meeting has been organized for Thursday, Dec. 18, in Lynden for poultry producers and owners of backyard flocks.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture and representatives from other agencies will be there to talk about the current situation in Washington state and in B.C.

Agriculture officials said they picked Lynden for the public meeting because of its proximity to the Canadian border and because they plan to increase testing in the area. The two strains are highly contagious to chickens.

Testing would be fine with Lauralee McLeod, who has a backyard flock of chickens at her Wiser Lake home.

“We’re right in the flyway,” she said.

McLeod said her chickens aren’t sick but she thought officials might like to have data, given where she lives.

Officials said that commercial producers and backyard bird enthusiasts can keep the flu away from their flocks by taking steps that include preventing contact with wild birds, but McLeod said that could be difficult. Her chickens are housed in a small coop and also are fenced in in a larger area.

“But being chickens they fly out, walk around. We don’t have them enclosed in any kind of big building,” she said.

For her, the takeaway is that “people need to be watching their flocks and not ignoring any symptoms or any die-offs.”

Because wild birds can carry bird flu viruses without appearing sick, officials also are telling people to avoid sick or dead poultry or wildlife.

If contact does occur, people should wash their hands with soap and water and change their clothes before coming into contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/12 ... rylink=cpy

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Avian flu outbreak that started in Chilliwack crosses U.S. border
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Most of the western half of Chilliwack is in the CFIA's avian influenza restricted zone.— Image Credit: Paul J. Henderson
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by Paul J. Henderson - Chilliwack Times
posted Dec 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM
The Fraser Valley’s outbreak of avian influenza has now crossed the U.S. border and at least one American expert isn’t impressed with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) response.

Biomedical researcher Henry Niman is concerned the highly pathogenic strain will spread throughout North America as wild birds begin winter migration.

No poultry farms in the U.S. were impacted by Wednesday, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported Tuesday that the H5N2 strain found in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and now Langley has been detected in northern pintail ducks in Lynden, Wash., fewer than 15 kilometres from the Fraser Valley cluster.

“The finding in Whatcom County was quickly reported and identified due to increased surveillance for avian influenza in light of the [highly pathogenic] H5N2 avian influenza affecting commercial poultry in British Columbia, Canada,” said a USDA statement issued Dec. 16.

In addition, a highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was found in Washington in three captive falcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds.

Niman, who is president of Pittsburgh-based Recombinomics, analyzes viral evolution and the spread of disease.

“The wild birds really can’t be controlled, which is why this is a very big deal that could have a serious impact on poultry markets throughout the Americas,” Niman told the Times.

“Poultry farmers throughout North America should be worried.”

Niman says the CFIA is trying to “manage the message” and downplay concerns, releasing information too slowly, something that could have far-reaching consequences.

As of Wednesday morning, the CFIA had reported 10 farms in the Fraser Valley affected by the current outbreak. Approximately 233,800 chickens and turkeys have either died from the illness or been euthanized.

The first farm where avian flu was detected was a broiler breeder with 13,000 birds in Chilliwack, although no other farms in the city have been directly impacted by the outbreak. Eight of the other farms affected are in Abbotsford—three turkey and five broiler breeders.

The latest and the largest is a 53,000 table egg layer farm in Langley.

The CFIA did say Wednesday that the H5N8 was the first time a "Eurasian lineage highly pathogenic H5 virus has caused an outbreak of avian influenza in poultry in North America."

"The appearance of this particular reassortant virus is significant due to its ability to cause high mortality in domestic poultry," a Dec. 17 CFIA statement said.

No H5N2 illness has been reported in humans, but the CFIA said that as a precautionary measure, public health officials are monitoring workers who are exposed to affected poultry.

While the illness is not dangerous to people, and the outbreak is likely to have little or no impact on consumers, the industry is feeling the effects as a three-level disease control zone has been set up in the province. The largest primary control zone covers the entire southern half of the province from Highway 16 south. Then there is a restricted zone from that encompassing an area between three and 10 kilometres away from infected farms. Chilliwack residents may have seen signs identifying this zone on the eastern side of Vedder Road closer to the Vedder River. The highest restrictions are in the “infected” zone, the area within three kilometres from any known infected premises, which in Chilliwack means most of Greendale and Yarrow.

The CFIA did not respond to a request to comment on Niman’s suggestion they have under-reacted to the current outbreak.

“All of this will come out eventually and pretending it isn’t as big as it is doesn’t solve the problem,” Niman said. “Most of the spread will likely be through independent introductions by wild birds, which is very hard to control.”

http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/286246111.html

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:41 pm 
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niman wrote:
Bird flu in Whatcom County linked to Wiser Lake area
BY KIE RELYEA
The Bellingham Herald
December 17, 2014

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD |Buy Photo Flu Follow Flu Follow Flu Follow

The two separate strains of bird flu traced to wild birds in Whatcom County have been linked to the Wiser Lake area, which is three miles southwest of Lynden.

Tests identified the H5N2 virus in a northern pintail duck and H5N8 in four captive gyrfalcons fed what is believed to be a wild widgeon killed by a hunter, according to Hon Ip, a virologist with the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

The pintail was part of a small die-off of birds at Wiser Lake and the widgeon came from an area near the lake, Ip said Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Remains of the widgeon were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa for tests to confirm that it was the carrier of the virus that sickened the gyrfalcons, according to Ip. At least three of the falcons have died.

Bird flu can be deadly to poultry and other birds. Its confirmation in Whatcom County has created concern among officials and residents here, including those with backyard chicken flocks, who are following news of an outbreak of bird flu in commercial poultry just over the border in British Columbia.

And while the outbreak in Canada also has been linked to a H5N2 strain of the disease, Ip said officials don’t yet know if it’s exactly the same strain found in the pintail duck at Wiser Lake.

“We don’t have enough information between our virus and the Canadian virus to say that they’re identical. There’s a lot of similarities. We think the two viruses are related,” Ip said.

Officials also don’t yet know whether wild birds at Wiser Lake spread the disease north to poultry operations in Canada, or whether Wiser Lake birds were exposed to the virus from those commercial poultry operations.

The bird flu cases in Whatcom County were found quickly because of increased surveillance due to the B.C. outbreak, officials have said. But Ip also said that die-offs at Wiser Lake are tested for bird flu “as a precaution to monitor for these kinds of introduction.”

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife collected the pintail duck after a die-off of about 50 to 100 wild birds at Wiser Lake over a short period of time, Ip said. Such die-offs aren’t usual for this time of the year at the lake, where some 10,000 birds gather, and officials suspected poisoning from lead shot or a fungal disease called aspergillosis.

Most of the birds those birds that died at Wiser Lake did so because of aspergillosis, according to Ip.

Officials tracking the bird flu once again stressed on Wednesday that the H5N2 and H5N8 strains weren’t an immediate health concern for people because they have been found elsewhere in the world and have yet to infect humans.

And there hasn’t been a reported case of a person in the U.S. sickened with bird flu from an infected bird.

Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. And neither virus has been in the U.S. until now.

Still, agriculture officials said that poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat even if they did carry the disease if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, a town hall meeting has been organized for Thursday, Dec. 18, in Lynden for poultry producers and owners of backyard flocks.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture and representatives from other agencies will be there to talk about the current situation in Washington state and in B.C.

Agriculture officials said they picked Lynden for the public meeting because of its proximity to the Canadian border and because they plan to increase testing in the area. The two strains are highly contagious to chickens.

Testing would be fine with Lauralee McLeod, who has a backyard flock of chickens at her Wiser Lake home.

“We’re right in the flyway,” she said.

McLeod said her chickens aren’t sick but she thought officials might like to have data, given where she lives.

Officials said that commercial producers and backyard bird enthusiasts can keep the flu away from their flocks by taking steps that include preventing contact with wild birds, but McLeod said that could be difficult. Her chickens are housed in a small coop and also are fenced in in a larger area.

“But being chickens they fly out, walk around. We don’t have them enclosed in any kind of big building,” she said.

For her, the takeaway is that “people need to be watching their flocks and not ignoring any symptoms or any die-offs.”

Because wild birds can carry bird flu viruses without appearing sick, officials also are telling people to avoid sick or dead poultry or wildlife.

If contact does occur, people should wash their hands with soap and water and change their clothes before coming into contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/12 ... rylink=cpy

http://www.theolympian.com/2014/12/17/3 ... html?&rh=1

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:30 am 
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Published Date: 2014-12-18 11:45:54
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza (112): USA (WA) wild birds, HPAI H5N8, H5N2
Archive Number: 20141218.3040607
AVIAN INFLUENZA (112): USA (WASHINGTON) WILD BIRDS, HPAI H5N8, H5N2
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A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
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Date: Tue 16 Dec 2014
Source: Q13 Fox News [edited]
http://q13fox.com/2014/12/16/avian-flu- ... c-concern/


The US Department of Agriculture on [Tue 16 Dec 2014] confirmed the presence of 2 different strains of H5 avian flu virus in wild birds in Whatcom County [Washington state], but said there was no immediate public health concern.

"Both H5N2 and [H5N8] viruses have been found in other parts of the world and have not caused any human infection to date," USDA said.

The department said HPAI H5N2 avian influenza was discovered in northern pintail ducks and HPAI H5N8 strain was found in captive gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds.

"Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States," USDA said.

The finding in Whatcom County was quickly reported and identified due to increased surveillance for avian influenza in light of the strain affecting commercial poultry in British Columbia, the USDA said.

The USDA, Washington state, and other federal partners are working on additional surveillance and testing of birds in the nearby area.

All bird owners are encouraged 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. Call your local vet or USDA's toll-free number at 866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity of backyard flocks can be found at http://www.healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture said it will hold a town hall meeting [Thu 18 Dec 2014] to discuss the findings and steps poultry owners should take to protect their birds. The town hall will be held at 6 pm [Thu 18 Dec 2014], in the Mount Baker Rotary Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden. It is open to the public.

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
<promed@promedmail.org>

******
[2]
Date: Fri 12 Dec 2014
Source: USGS National Wildlife Health Center [edited]
http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/w ... 5_H5N8.pdf


Detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Viruses H5N2 and H5N8 in the United States, Washington State
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This Bulletin provides information on the current situation regarding the recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) H5N2 and H5N8 in wild and captive birds in the United States. Following reports of recent outbreaks of HPAIV in poultry in British Columbia, Canada, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife together with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) and the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services investigated a waterfowl mortality event on Wiser Lake in Whatcom County, Washington adjacent to the affected area in Canada. Mortality of a captive gyrfalcon that had recently been fed waterfowl meat from the area was also investigated. Gross examinations and microbiological culture analyses of the waterfowl carcasses indicated aspergillosis in several of the birds. In addition, virology analyses conducted in collaboration with the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of HPAIV H5 avian influenza in 2 of the birds.

Two separate virus strains were identified: HPAIV H5N2 in a wild northern pintail duck (_Anas acuta_) and HPAIV H5N8 in a captive gyrfalcon (_Falco rusticolus_) that was fed wild waterfowl from this site. Both viruses have been determined to have an amino acid sequence at the hemagglutinin cleavage site consistent with HPAIV. Preliminary data suggest that these virus strains (H5N2 and H5N8) may be related to an HPAIV H5N8 previously known to have circulated during 2014 among wild birds and poultry (chickens and ducks) in Asia and Western Europe. Wild bird species known to be infected with HPAIV H5N8 and a timeline of major HPAIV H5N8 events during 2014 are summarized in Tables 1 and 2, respectively [available at the source URL above]. The novel H5N2 and H5N8 detections in the United States that are described in this Bulletin only involve free-ranging and captive wild birds, and further investigation and characterization of the HPAIVs is ongoing. Neither of these viruses has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States.

The NWHC is continuing to monitor for HPAIV by testing sick and dead migratory birds. In an effort to maximize early detection of HPAIV and to understand the spatial extent and species involvement of H5 HPAIV in North America, wildlife managers should remain vigilant for wild bird morbidity and mortality events and continue to submit carcasses from any events that meet the criteria described below.

Submission criteria
-------------------
1. Mortality events of any size involving waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) or other water birds (loons, grebes, coots, shorebirds or wading birds such as egrets/herons).
2. Mortality events of any size involving North American avian scavenger species (raptors, ravens, crows, or gulls), particularly those observed near locations with on-going waterbird mortality.
3. Mortality events involving single- or multiple bird species where estimated total mortality exceeds 500 birds.
4. Other examples of events that warrant investigation include mortality events involving any wild bird species occurring in close proximity to poultry operations, or mortality events associated with captive birds that have been imported from countries where H5 or H7 HPAIVs are known to occur.

NWHC will also test for HPAIV in other species when the circumstances of disease outbreaks, including rapid mortality progression or pathologic findings, suggest that avian influenza may be a factor.

These criteria may be revised in the future as more information on pathogen distribution is obtained from enhanced HPAIV surveillance efforts. NWHC will continue submitting samples to the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories for confirmatory testing and for mortality events exceeding 500 birds.

There has to date been no evidence of HPAIV H5N2- or H5N8-related illness in humans, but appropriate hygiene measures should be observed when handling wild birds. Recommended hygiene measures and useful links are also provided below.

Additional information
----------------------
- OIE: Questions and Answers on Highly Pathogenic H5N8 Avian Influenza strain (http://www.un-influenza.org/?q=content/ ... nza-strain
- Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on H5N8 HPAI in Poultry and Wild Birds (http://www.unep-aewa.org/sites/default/ ... 202014.pdf)
- NWHC Avian Influenza Information (http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_inform ... /index.jsp)
- USDA Avian Influenza Information
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usd ... uenza.html
- USDA Biosecurity for Birds
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health ... curity/AI/

Recommendations
---------------
Hunters should follow these routine precautions when handling game:
- Do not handle or eat sick game.
- Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
- Wash hands and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come into contact with game.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
- All game should be thoroughly cooked (internal temperature of 165 deg F [74 deg C]).

Field biologists handling sick or dead birds associated with a mortality event should:
- Wear rubber, latex, or nitrile gloves that can be disinfected or discarded and protective eyewear or a face shield while handling animals.
- Wear protective clothing, including coveralls and rubber boots.
- Minimize respiratory exposure by wearing a respirator/mask (NIOSH N95 or better).
- Wash hands often and disinfect work surfaces and equipment before travelling between sites.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
- Properly dispose of potentially infectious material including carcasses. For additional information see the USGS Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases (http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/field_manual/).
- Additional health and safety information can be found at http://on.doi.gov/1DQdXXy

Disease investigation services
------------------------------
To request diagnostic services or report wildlife mortality, please contact the NWHC at 608-270-2480 or by email at <NWHC-epi@usgs.gov>, and a field epidemiologist will be available to discuss the case. To report wildlife mortality events in Hawaii or Pacific Island territories, please contact the Honolulu Field Station at 808-792-9520 or email Thierry Work at <thierry_work@usgs.gov>. Further information can be found at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/services/.

Wildlife Mortality Reporting and Diagnostic Submission Request Form:
http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/services/Wildl ... 20Form.pdf

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the scientific and technical services the NWHC provides, please do not hesitate to contact NWHC Director Jonathan Sleeman at 608-270-2401, <jsleeman@usgs.gov>.

Wildlife Health Bulletins are distributed to natural resource/conservation agencies to provide and promote information exchange about significant wildlife health threats. If you would like to be added to or removed from the mailing list for these bulletins, please contact Gail Moede Rogall at 608-270-2438 or <nwhcoutreachdb@usgs.gov>.

--
Communicated by:
Gail Moede Rogall
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
<gmrogall@usgs.gov>

[Avian influenza (AI) is caused by type A influenza virus. The signs can vary from a mild disease with little or no mortality to a highly fatal, rapidly spreading epidemic (highly pathogenic avian influenza) depending on the infecting virus strain, host factors, and environmental stressors. Signs of avian influenza are extremely variable. In some flocks the only evidence of the infection is seroconversion, that is, the birds develop a detectable antibody titer to AI. AI can also be manifest as respiratory, enteric, reproductive, or nervous system disease. Decreased food consumption and drops in egg production are among some of the earliest and most predictable signs of disease.

Signs including coughing, sneezing, ruffled feathers, swollen heads, nervous signs like depression, and diarrhea may occur together or singly. In some cases, birds die rapidly without clinical signs of disease.

Wild birds and their excreta should be considered a major source of avian influenza. Preventing direct contact with free-flying birds and protecting domestic poultry from contact with the feces of wild birds is an important way to prevent avian influenza.

Influenza viruses are very sensitive to most detergents and disinfectants. They are readily inactivated by heating and drying. However, flu viruses are well protected from inactivation by organic material and infectious virus can be recovered from manure for up to 105 days. Complete removal of all organic material is part of any effective disinfection procedure.

Contaminated houses are heated for several days to inactivate virus. Organic material is removed followed by complete cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces. Contaminated litter and manure are problematic and should be composted or buried to ensure that they do not spread infectious virus.

Portions of this comment have been extracted from http://www.ncagr.gov/vet/factsheets/avianinfluenza.htm.

The OIE recommends strengthening animal disease surveillance worldwide (http://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/pre ... worldwide/)

Additional resources
--------------------
1. OFFLU (OIE-FAO global network of expertise on animal influenza): H5N8 situation report for wild birds and guidance (24 Nov 2014)
http://www.offlu.net/fileadmin/home/en/ ... _Final.pdf
2. FAO: Wild bird highly pathogenic avian influenza surveillance, sample collection from healthy, sick and dead birds
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0960e/a0960e00.htm
3. OFFLU: Strategy document for surveillance and monitoring of influenzas in animals
http://www.offlu.net/fileadmin/home/en/ ... llance.pdf

The state of Washington can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/promed/p/4648. Whatcom County can be seen on the map at http://geology.com/county-map/washington-county-map.gif. - Mod.TG]
See Also
Avian influenza (110): USA (WA) wild birds, HPAI H5N8, H5N2, OIE 20141217.3037995
Avian influenza (108): USA (WA) H5N2, H5N8, wild birds 20141217.3038018
Avian influenza (68): USA (NJ) poultry, LPAI, H7, OIE 20140829.2731960
Avian influenza (55): USA (CA) poultry, LPAI, H5 20140425.2428504
Avian influenza (54): USA (CA) poultry, LPAI, H5, OIE 20140423.2424661
2013
----
Avian influenza (71): USA (AR) poultry, LPAI H7N7 20130620.1782674
Avian influenza (04): USA (NY) H5 LPAI, poultry, RFI for N-type 20130115.1498109
2012
----
Avian influenza (13): USA (MA) LPAI, swan 20120208.1036521
Avian influenza (08): USA (MA) LPAI, swan 20120203.1031447
2004
----
Avian influenza, H7, poultry - USA (DE, MD) 20040412.0993
Avian influenza, poultry, H7 - USA (MD) (02) 20040309.0665
Avian Influenza, poultry, H7 - USA (MD) 20040308.0657
.................................................sb/tg/mj/ml

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