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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:16 pm 
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Area shows no additional signs of bird flu

by ALANA LINDEROTH, Sequim Gazette Reporter
Jan 28, 2015 at 5:00AM
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Alan Huddleston, spokesman for the USDA, addresses about 30 concerned individuals, the majority bird owners, during a informational meeting regarding the recent avian influenza (H5N2) outbreak in Agnew. — Image Credit: Sequim Gazette Photo By Alana Linderoth

More than a week of taking samples from nearby domestic flocks and officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have yet to receive any results that indicate avian influenza has spread locally after the virus was first detected Jan. 16 in Agnew.

“So far, all samples are coming back negative,” WSDA spokesman Hector Castro said. “The results play a huge role in the area and length of the quarantine.”

The maximum amount of a time a quarantine can be in place with an emergency rule is 240 days, but Castro said WSDA officials are “pretty close to making a decision” on a similar quarantine in the Tri-Cities established for less than a month.

The state veterinarian and officials with WSDA will make the final decision on the length of the quarantine, Alan Huddleston, spokesman for the USDA, told about 30 concerned individuals, the majority bird owners, during a informational meeting Monday.

On Jan. 20, WSDA officials received the needed approval for a 10-kilometer quarantine zone surrounding 92 Cosmos Lane where multiple birds belonging to Sherry and Gary Smith died from H5N2 and a total of 118 mixed poultry were euthanized by USDA officials to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“It is best to think of a quarantine as movement controls,” Huddleston said.

Although there are some exceptions with transporting eggs within a quarantine zone, all other poultry products and eggs cannot be transported in or out of the designated zone.

Moving ahead with the response effort, teams from the USDA will continue to take samples from domestic flocks within the quarantine zone and inform the public on “biosecurity” precautions bird owners can do to help keep their birds safe.

“The main goal right now is to identify any contaminated flocks and depopulating them to stop the virus from spreading,” Huddleston said.

To lower the chance of cross contamination, Huddleston suggests using a designated set of clothing and footwear when interacting with certain birds or flocks and don’t allow other bird owners to come into contact with the flock.

“The best thing you can do is keep your poultry separate from wild birds,” Huddleston said.

Waterfowl seem to be the primary means of transportation of avian flu, Huddleston said, and ducks and geese with the virus typically don’t show clinical signs, which include decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, closed eyes, excessive thirst, diarrhea and swollen wattles and combs.

“We’re seeing it in the birds of prey and it’s hitting them pretty hard,” Huddleston said. “We also have found the virus in songbirds.”

Although cases of human illness have been linked to certain strains of avian influenza, neither strain, H5N2 or H5N8, found within the United States have caused human illness, Huddleston said. If properly handled and cooked, poultry meat and eggs are safe to consume. However, both strains are considered highly pathogenic, lethal and very contagious among birds.

The first neighboring case of avian influenza was noted in December in British Columbia. Officials with USDA suspect the virus is coming through the “Asian flyways, down through Alaska and British Columbia and to the Northwest,” Huddleston said.

Retail outlets within the quarantine zone that sell eggs, including Dungeness Valley Creamery, Agnew Grocery and Feed and Sunny Farms Country Store, are allowed to sell eggs, but none produced by poultry within the quarantine zone.

To report sick domestic birds, call the USDA’s veterinary services at 866-536-7593 or to report sick or dead wild birds, contact the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, at 800-606-8768.

http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/290000461.html#

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:20 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
For immediate release: Feb. 11, 2015 (15-12) Contact: Hector Castro (360) 902-1815

Avian flu quarantine lifted in Clallam County

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has lifted a quarantine that had been in place in a portion of Clallam County since Jan. 21 after an emergency rule was adopted to enact the quarantine and restrict the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products in the zone.
WSDA has determined that the avian influenza detected in a backyard flock between Port Angeles and Sequim does not appear to have spread beyond the site. To reach this conclusion, a team of veterinarians with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and WSDA visited nearly 2,000 locations in the quarantine area and tested samples from birds at 44 premises. All samples tested negative for avian influenza.
As a result of this action and lifting of the quarantine, there are no longer restrictions on the movement of poultry or poultry products within Clallam County.
Such restrictions remain in place in parts of Okanogan County, where two quarantines were established after two different flocks were found to be infected with the H5N2 avian influenza virus. Visit www.agr.wa.gov/LawsRules/Rulemaking for the complete rule and a map of these quarantine zones.
None of the viruses detected in Washington have been associated with human illnesses and there is no immediate public health concern. However, public health officials have contacted owners of identified infected flocks as a precaution.
Although the quarantine has been lifted, the risk of exposure to avian influenza still remains for poultry. Because migratory wild waterfowl populations can carry the disease, including the highly-pathogenic strains of avian influenza, WSDA continues to urge bird owners to protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl and remain vigilant in their biosecurity measures.
Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be properly cooked.
Deaths or illness among domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at 1-800-606-3056. For wild birds, contact the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-606-8768.

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