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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Likely second H5N2 flock 500 ducks in Richland in Benton County, Washington.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:39 pm 
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Bird flu suspected in second Washington flock

Don Jenkins

Capital Press
Published: January 6, 2015 9:17AM
Last changed: January 6, 2015 11:32AM
Bird flu has spread to a second backyard flock in Benton County in south-central Washington.

Bird flu has apparently infected a second backyard flock in the Tri-Cities area of south-central Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

The second flock was exposed to the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus by domestic ducks transferred from the first infected flock, WSDA said.

The 100 birds in the first flock — a collection of ducks, chickens and turkeys — were euthanized Monday. The 500 birds in the second flock will be euthanized today, WSDA spokesman Hector Castro said.

Bird flu has not been confirmed in the second flock, but birds are dying at an unusual rate, he said. “All the signs are this flock was infected,” Castro said.

The ducks were moved between the flocks, which are about 9 miles apart, around Christmas, before bird flu was detected around New Year’s Eve in the first flock, Castro said.

The flock owners know each other and exchange birds, he said.

WSDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have set up surveillance zones within about 6 miles of the two flocks. Officials planned to look for other signs of bird flu cases.

Castro said backyard flocks are common in the area.

Officials suspect the first flock was infected by migratory waterfowl. A wild duck and captive gyrfalcon that was fed wild duck were infected by highly pathogenic avian influenza in December.

Also in December, a 100-bird backyard flock in Winston in southern Oregon on property with a pond and marsh was infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Bird flu has not been detected in U.S. commercial poultry, but the infections in backyard flocks has cost the United States its designation as a country free of highly pathogenic bird flu. Several countries have restricted U.S. poultry imports.

Some 17 countries reacted Jan. 5 to the outbreak in the Washington backyard flock with new import restrictions on U.S. poultry meat and other poultry products.

Only Sri Lanka banned all U.S. poultry, joining several nations that imposed such bans after highly pathogenic bird flu was detected in Whatcom County, Wash., and Douglas County, Ore. The USDA has criticized bans on all U.S. poultry as unwarranted.

Most nations Jan. 5 focused their bans on Washington and Oregon. They include Nicaragua, Uruguay, Guatemala, Cuba, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Belarus.

Hong Kong restricted imports from Benton County, Wash. It had previously banned imports from Douglas County, Ore.

Avian flu has been found in 11 commercial poultry operations and one backyard flock in British Columbia, Canada.

Highly pathogenic bird flu had never been detected before in Washington or Oregon and hadn’t been seen in the United States for a decade.

Backyard flock owners will be compensated for euthanized birds through a USDA program.

WSDA officials say that the greatest risk for bird flu spreading is from migratory waterfowl coming in contact with domestic birds. Officials advised flock owners to keep their birds away from wild birds.

To report sick or dead domestic birds to the WSDA, call 1-800-606-3056.

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20150106/bird-flu-suspected-in-second-washington-flock


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:12 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:31 am 
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Whatcom County poultry owners encouraged to have birds tested for flu
BY KIE RELYEA
The Bellingham Herald
January 6, 2015

Image
Bird flu, Whatcom County
Whatcom County residents with backyard flocks are being encouraged to have their birds tested as state and federal agencies work to stop the spread of bird flu.
FILE — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD


Whatcom County residents with backyard flocks are being encouraged to have their birds tested as state and federal agencies work to stop the spread of bird flu, which likely has infected a second flock in Benton County in the Tri-Cities area.

“The sooner we can find out if there’s a problem, the sooner we can contain it,” said Hector Castro, spokesman for the Washington state Department of Agriculture, on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

No additional cases have been confirmed in Whatcom County since two strains were found here in December and traced to wild birds in the Wiser Lake area three miles southwest of Lynden. But additional test results are pending.

Tests identified the H5N2 virus in a wild northern pintail duck and H5N8 in a captive gyrfalcon fed what was believed to be a wild widgeon killed by a hunter, officials said then. Both strains have been described as highly pathogenic, meaning they can be deadly to domestic poultry.

Wild birds are carriers of the flu, though most strains don’t seriously affect them.

A strain similar to the H5N2 virus found in the wild northern pintail duck in Whatcom County infected the first flock near Benton City in Benton County. That infection was confirmed New Year’s Eve.

The second flock was exposed after domestic ducks were transferred from the first site, according to Castro. The two flocks were about 9 miles apart in Benton County.

The first flock had about 150 birds, including domestic waterfowl, with access to the outdoors. There also is a pond on the premises used by migratory birds.

“It’s been a concern all along that this is something that could be carried along the migratory pathways,” Castro said. “It is vital that bird owners protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl.”

The owner of the first flock contacted officials after nearly 50 birds died.

Birds in the second flock, which totaled about 500, also were a mix of chickens, ducks and turkeys. They started dying this past weekend. Tests haven’t yet confirmed bird flu in the second flock but the connection to the first flock was clear, Castro said.

Both flocks are being killed in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, and their owners are cooperating, he said.

“They said they recognized the need to try and control the disease,” Castro said. “It’s tough. There’s no getting around it.”

The owners will be financially compensated through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

Officials once again stressed that the strains don’t pose an immediate health concern for the public because they have been found elsewhere in the world and have yet to infect humans.

“This is more of an issue for the poultry industry and anyone who owns birds,” Castro said.

The virus hasn’t been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. or Washington state, the USDA stressed.

Properly cooked waterfowl and domestic poultry do not sicken people. Eggs also are safe to eat, officials said.

As for the owners of backyard flocks in Whatcom County, postcards will be sent to some of them asking them to voluntarily allow their birds to be tested for the flu.

Castro didn’t immediately know how many birds from backyard flocks have been tested in Whatcom County since officials reached out to backyard bird owners at a town hall meeting in Lynden in December.

“It’s not as many as we’d like to do. We’d like to do more testing, which is why we’re trying to get the word out. It is voluntary,” he said.

Officials also want to hear from people who own waterfowl as part of their flocks.

For those poultry enthusiasts who hesitate to contact state agriculture officials because they fear one test could be the death knell for their flocks, Castro said: “There are almost always other signs and it’s just never about a single test. These viruses make birds sick and then they die.”

He said officials would work closely with bird owners. “We understand how traumatic this can be and how upsetting this can be.”

Meanwhile, officials said that people can take precautions that include:

• Avoid contact with sick or dead poultry or any wildlife.

• When there’s contact, wash hands with soap and water and change clothes before touching healthy domestic poultry or birds.

• Protect your backyard flock by keeping it away from other domestic poultry, wildlife and wild waterfowl.

Birds affected by avian influenza can show symptoms that include:

• a drop in food consumption.

• huddling and closed eyes.

• coughing and sneezing.

• lowered egg production.

• greenish diarrhea.

• excessive thirst.

• swollen wattles and combs.

• sudden death.

Learn more at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

Illness in domestic birds should be reported to the Department of Agriculture’s Avian Health Program at 1-800-606-3056. People with backyard flocks who want them tested also can call this number to do so.

Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-606-8768.

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

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2015/01 ... rylink=cpy

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:40 am 
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Avian flu found in second Benton County backyard flock
BY KRISTI PIHL
Tri-City HeraldJanuary 6, 2015 Updated 7 hours ago

Image
Veterinarians from the U.S. and state departments of Agriculture capture avian flu infected and exposed birds Tuesday morning at a backyard farm in Richland. The birds were euthanized in blue, trash-can sized barrels filled with carbon dioxide in an effort to help prevent spread of the disease. The flock contained almost 500 birds, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl. BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald

WHAT BACKYARD POULTRY, WATERFOWL OWNERS SHOULD DO

• Keep bird areas clean and protect them from contact with wild birds, especially waterfowl.

• Use eggs and meat normally. Meat and eggs from infected birds remain safe to eat and there are no human health concerns with the disease.

• Contact the state Department of Agriculture immediately if you notice any unusual illnesses or death. Typical symptoms include respiratory issues, coughing or sneezing, lower egg production, decreased appetite and swelling on combs or waddles.

Deaths or illnesses in domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at 800-606-3056. For wild birds, call the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 800-606-8768.

For more information about avian influenza and steps that backyard poultry owners can take, go to agr.wa.gov.

Information from the state Department of Agriculture

Veterinarians covered in white protective gear herded hundreds of chickens, ducks and other birds into blue trash-can sized barrels Tuesday in rural Richland.

The vets picked up most of the birds and carefully placed them into the carbon dioxide-filled cans to kill them.

State and federal employees had to use nets to capture some of the poultry and waterfowl, which had been exposed to a highly contagious strain of avian influenza. It’s deadly to birds, but humans can’t catch it.

So far, more than 700 Benton County poultry and waterfowl in the past two weeks have died from avian flu or were euthanized to halt the spread of the disease.

Officials found the contagious strain in the Richland flock this week, and they killed the surviving birds Tuesday morning. Veterinarians on Monday euthanized birds from a Benton City flock diagnosed with the disease last week.

The Richland flock had been in direct contact with the Benton City flock, said Hector Castro, the state Department of Agriculture’s communications manager.

This is the first time avian flu has been found in a backyard flock in Washington. No one has found it in any commercial flocks.

The 500 birds in the mixed Richland flock included chickens, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl. Some of the birds had lost motor control, leaving them helplessly flapping around. Poultry that catch the disease usually die within three days.

“They are already showing significant signs of the illness here,” Castro said early Tuesday.

The veterinarians connected the CO2 tanks to the barrels used to kill the birds. The gas knocked the birds out in seconds, and they died quickly, Castro said.

“They are being as careful with the birds as they can,” he said.

Workers wore Tyvek protective suits while they were in contact with the infected birds to prevent the spread of disease, Castro said.

Officials disposed of the suits, which covered the workers head to toe, after they finished the euthanizations, he said. Anything that came in contact with the birds was decontaminated. The birds’ carcasses were incinerated.

The owner of the Richland flock agreed to have the birds euthanized even though the test results to confirm the avian flu diagnosis weren’t back yet, Castro said.

About 100 ducks from the Richland flock had been mingled with the Benton City flock and were moved back to Richland when the Benton City owners realized there were some health issues with their birds, he said.

The Benton City flock of 200 chickens, turkeys and waterfowl used a pond also visited by migratory wild birds. Wild birds have been known to spread the disease to domestic birds. The Benton City owners contacted the state Department of Agriculture after more than 50 became sick and died.

The Benton City owners stopped moving any birds to other flocks once they realized the health problems were serious, Castro said. They told officials about the Richland ducks that visited their property. State Department of Agriculture officials then contacted the owners of the second flock.

The Richland and Benton City owners cooperated with state and federal officials. They will receive some compensation from USDA, Castro said, but it will cover only the euthanized birds, not those killed by the disease.

Tests by the USDA identified the strain of influenza caught by the Benton City birds as H5N2, Castro said — the same one found in a wild pintail duck in Whatcom County and in outbreaks in Canada.

The virus has not been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. The industry has a robust avian influenza testing program. Inspectors perform weekly testing and health inspections at live bird markets in the state.

Officials are trying to prevent the spread of the disease to other Tri-City area backyard poultry flocks. Federal and state workers will disinfect both properties and check to make sure they killed all of the exposed birds, Castro said.

A small building at the Benton City location might be removed. If so, the owners would be compensated for that as well.

USDA officials will contact property owners within about seven miles of both sites to check to see if any other domestic birds have been infected, Castro said. Those birds would be tested with owner permission. From poultry, a swab is taken from the inside of its beak. With waterfowl, feces are tested.

Another backyard flock that lives near the Benton City flock is being tested even though the birds appear healthy, Castro said. The samples have been sent to a lab to check for avian flu, but it could be a couple of days for the results to be available.

Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristiAPihl

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2015/01/0 ... rylink=cpy

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:42 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:49 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:20 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Suspected Avian Flu in Second Washington State Flock
07 January 2015
WASHINGTON STATE, US - Highly pathogenic avian flu of the H5N2 subtype is suspected in a second backyard flock in Washington state, in the same county as the previous outbreak. At least partial bans on US poultry exports have been imposed by several countries as a result of these outbreaks.
Bird flu has apparently infected a second backyard flock in the Tri-Cities area of south-central Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
Capital Press reports that the second flock was exposed to the highly pathogenic H5N2 virus by domestic ducks transferred from the first infected flock.
The 100 birds in the first flock — a collection of ducks, chickens and turkeys — were euthanised on 5 January.
The 500 birds in the second flock were due to be euthanised on 6 January, WSDA spokesman Hector Castro, told the newspaper.
Bird flu has not been confirmed in the second flock but birds are dying at an unusual rate, he said, adding, “All the signs are this flock was infected.”
The ducks were moved between the flocks, which are about nine miles apart, around Christmas, before bird flu was detected around New Year’s Eve in the first flock, Mr Castro said.
The flock owners know each other and exchange birds, he said.
WSDA and US Department of Agriculture officials have set up surveillance zones within about six miles of the two flocks. Officials planned to look for other signs of bird flu cases.
Mr Castro said backyard flocks are common in the area.
Officials suspect the first flock was infected by migratory waterfowl, according to Capital Press. A wild duck and captive gyrfalcon that was fed wild duck were infected by highly pathogenic avian influenza in December.
Also in December, a 100-bird backyard flock in Winston in southern Oregon on property with a pond and marsh was infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Implications for US Poultry Exports

Bird flu has not been detected in US commercial poultry but the infections in backyard flocks has cost the United States its designation as a country free of highly pathogenic bird flu, according to Capital Press. Several countries have restricted US poultry imports.
Some 17 countries reacted on 5 January to the outbreak in the Washington backyard flock with new import restrictions on US poultry meat and other poultry products.
Only Sri Lanka banned all US poultry, joining several nations that imposed such bans after highly pathogenic bird flu was detected in Whatcom County in Washington, and Douglas County in Oregon. The USDA has criticised bans on all US poultry as unwarranted.
Most nations have focused their bans on Washington and Oregon. They include Nicaragua, Uruguay, Guatemala, Cuba, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Belarus.
Hong Kong restricted imports from Benton County, Washington. It had previously banned imports from Douglas County, Oregon.
The Capital Press report adds that avian flu has been found in 11 commercial poultry operations and one backyard flock in British Columbia, Canada.
Highly pathogenic bird flu had never been detected before in Washington or Oregon and had not been seen in the United States for a decade.
Backyard flock owners will be compensated for euthanised birds through a USDA programme.
WSDA officials explained that the greatest risk for bird flu spreading is from migratory waterfowl coming in contact with domestic birds. Officials advised flock owners to keep their birds away from wild birds.

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultryne ... tate-flock

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:22 am 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA
McClatchy-Tribune 01/07/2015 5:31 AM ET
Avian flu found in second Benton County backyard flock [Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)]

Jan. 07--Veterinarians covered in white protective gear herded hundreds of chickens, ducks and other birds into blue trash-can sized barrels Tuesday in rural Richland.

The vets picked up most of the birds and carefully placed them into the carbon dioxide-filled cans to kill them.

State and federal employees had to use nets to capture some of the poultry and waterfowl, which had been exposed to a highly contagious strain of avian influenza. It's deadly to birds, but humans can't catch it.

So far, more than 700 Benton County poultry and waterfowl in the past two weeks have died from avian flu or were euthanized to halt the spread of the disease.

Officials found the contagious strain in the Richland flock this week, and they killed the surviving birds Tuesday morning. Veterinarians on Monday euthanized birds from a Benton City flock diagnosed with the disease last week.

The Richland flock had been in direct contact with the Benton City flock, said Hector Castro, the state Department of Agriculture's communications manager.

This is the first time avian flu has been found in a backyard flock in Washington. No one has found it in any commercial flocks.

The 500 birds in the mixed Richland flock included chickens, turkeys, ducks and guinea fowl. Some of the birds had lost motor control, leaving them helplessly flapping around. Poultry that catch the disease usually die within three days.

"They are already showing significant signs of the illness here," Castro said early Tuesday.

The veterinarians connected the CO2 tanks to the barrels used to kill the birds. The gas knocked the birds out in seconds, and they died quickly, Castro said.

"They are being as careful with the birds as they can," he said.

Workers wore Tyvek protective suits while they were in contact with the infected birds to prevent the spread of disease, Castro said.

Officials disposed of the suits, which covered the workers head to toe, after they finished the euthanizations, he said. Anything that came in contact with the birds was decontaminated. The birds' carcasses were incinerated.

The owner of the Richland flock agreed to have the birds euthanized even though the test results to confirm the avian flu diagnosis weren't back yet, Castro said.

About 100 ducks from the Richland flock had been mingled with the Benton City flock and were moved back to Richland when the Benton City owners realized there were some health issues with their birds, he said.

The Benton City flock of 200 chickens, turkeys and waterfowl used a pond also visited by migratory wild birds. Wild birds have been known to spread the disease to domestic birds. The Benton City owners contacted the state Department of Agriculture after more than 50 became sick and died.

The Benton City owners stopped moving any birds to other flocks once they realized the health problems were serious, Castro said. They told officials about the Richland ducks that visited their property. State Department of Agriculture officials then contacted the owners of the second flock.

The Richland and Benton City owners cooperated with state and federal officials. They will receive some compensation from USDA, Castro said, but it will cover only the euthanized birds, not those killed by the disease.

Tests by the USDA identified the strain of influenza caught by the Benton City birds as H5N2, Castro said -- the same one found in a wild pintail duck in Whatcom County and in outbreaks in Canada.

The virus has not been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. The industry has a robust avian influenza testing program. Inspectors perform weekly testing and health inspections at live bird markets in the state.

Officials are trying to prevent the spread of the disease to other Tri-City area backyard poultry flocks. Federal and state workers will disinfect both properties and check to make sure they killed all of the exposed birds, Castro said.

A small building at the Benton City location might be removed. If so, the owners would be compensated for that as well.

USDA officials will contact property owners within about seven miles of both sites to check to see if any other domestic birds have been infected, Castro said. Those birds would be tested with owner permission. From poultry, a swab is taken from the inside of its beak. With waterfowl, feces are tested.

Another backyard flock that lives near the Benton City flock is being tested even though the birds appear healthy, Castro said. The samples have been sent to a lab to check for avian flu, but it could be a couple of days for the results to be available.

Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristiAPihl

http://investing.businessweek.com/resea ... 16_25565-1

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:17 am 
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BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Another southeastern Washington chicken farmer has lost his flock to avian flu, and there are sure to be more.

The flu is spreading quickly as wild birds migrate south from British Columbia, carrying strains of the disease never seen before in the U.S.

State and federal agriculture inspectors carry out the deadly deed at a small farm near Richland. By nightfall they will have captured and put to death 500 chickens, ducks and turkeys.

Agriculture officials are considering a poultry quarantine to keep any birds from the area of the two infected farms, but this outbreak knows no true containment.

The virus is believed to be travelling on the wings of birds migrating all the way from the Arctic and even Asia down the Pacific flyway, infecting wild and domestic flocks along the way.

Rangers at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge are part of testing program to see how widespread the disease is in wild waterfowl.

"Lately there's been a couple biologists from USGS, they're doing samples of the birds," said Cory Thompson, McNary National Wildlife Refuge.

The biologists are asking hunters to provide samples so they can see which birds are carrying the virus that has killed wild birds in the state already.

But with some ducks apparently able to survive while carrying the disease, there is potential for a major outbreak. That's why inspectors quickly destroy infected flocks.

Biologists wear protective gear - not because they are afraid of getting the virus from the birds. What they're afraid of is bringing the virus off of the farm, so those protective suits will be burned and destroyed and never leave the area.

And with so many backyard poultry operations in the area, the inspections have really just begun.

"That could mean that actually in the next week or so, USDA teams go door to door in some neighborhoods where they see flocks," said Hector Castro, Washington Department of Agriculture.

And with each infection they find, the taxpayers' bill will go up. Every farmer who agrees to have their flock destroyed will be compensated.

http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science ... /21370803/

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