(Update: added video, Bend Chickens owner comments, press conference)
The CDC says it does not present an immediate public health concern
BEND, OR (KTVZ) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed on Friday the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial (non-poultry) backyard flock in Linn County – the first confirmed case in Oregon since 2015.
And as the outbreak has been spreading for some time, with millions of chickens and turkeys culled, many bird owners, including in the High Desert, have already taken precautions.
Southwest Bend chicken owner Annie Chrietzberg told NewsChannel 21 on Friday that she is aware of the growing nationwide outbreak. She says she’s seen it on the news and there are two active groups on Facebook for local chicken owners. She started taking precautions last week to save her birds.
Chrietzberg’s hens are in his garden, enclosed and protected from the sky and wild birds. She said she would completely isolate them, if necessary. Food and water for birds are under the canopy, so wild bird droppings cannot enter.
“We bought a carport canopy so that if bird flu spreads we can lock the chickens in during the day, and part of that enclosure keeps all the wild birds away from them,” Chrietzberg said. “So I have four walls that I can enclose them with, and I have an awning with windows that can go up, so they can have ventilation.”
Several geese in a non-commercial flock of about 100 waterfowl died suddenly on a Linn County farm, and federal authorities confirmed Friday that they died of bird flu. Also on Friday, Washington state authorities learned that chickens and turkeys from a flock of about 50 birds at a non-commercial farm in Pacific County, Washington, also had the disease. sickness.
Washington State veterinarian Dana R. Dobbs said, “In this particular outbreak, it was primarily introduced by wild migrating waterfowl, and right now the birds are migrating north.”
Chrietzberg has chickens for the quality of their eggs.
“I always wanted to have chickens, and when I bought this house a year ago, I was able to,” she said. “Eggs are amazing, because my birds get fresh vegetables every morning – kale, cilantro and parsley, and fermented cereal. They are very spoiled. They’re not really farm animals, this are more like pets.”
She said she liked to sit outside on a nice day and watch Peri, Fernando and Margarite.
Some of Linn County’s infected birds died. The Oregon Department of Agriculture said the rest would be humanely euthanized.
HPAI (H5N1) is a highly contagious virus that is easily transmitted among wild and domestic bird species. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent detection of HPAI does not present an immediate public health problem.
“We knew HPAI was coming after a bald eagle in British Columbia tested positive in early March,” said Dr. Ryan Scholz, state veterinarian with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Since this detection, we have worked hard to communicate with our commercial poultry producers, veterinarians and the public on how they can protect their flocks.
“Now more than ever, all bird owners should practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual deaths so the ODA can ensure testing.”
A quick response is needed to prevent the spread of HPAI, the ODA said on Friday. The owner of the affected backyard flock reported the deaths and delivered at least one of the birds to Oregon State University’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory for initial sample testing. Samples were also sent to the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratory.
Meanwhile, the ODA quickly quarantined the affected premises. The ODA will humanely euthanize any additional birds on the property to prevent the spread of disease. The birds on this farm have not been used for food and will not enter the food system. There are no detections in commercial poultry in the state.
The ODA and federal partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the neighboring region, consistent with existing avian flu response plans.
Oregon State veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz said of the Linn County case: “The long and the short of it was that the producer noticed that one day a crow was arrived with some of his chickens – and the next day he literally described them dropping like flies.
“We want to contain and eradicate this disease as soon as possible, to protect our commercial poultry industry, as well as some of our backyard flocks that sell eggs and do things like that,” Scholz said.
The cases do not pose a risk to humans and the birds from the farms were not used as food.
Northwest wildlife and agriculture officials said the virus appears to primarily affect waterfowl, but people who feed songbirds should take extra steps to clean their feeders frequently as a precaution.
There is no detection of bird flu in commercial poultry in either state, they said.
If you find a sick or dying bird, the ODA asks you not to touch it; report it. For domestic birds, please report by calling the ODA at 1-800-347-7028 or emailing [email protected] For wild birds, please call and report the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by calling 1-866-968-2600.
For more information on HPAI, visit APD bird flu Web page. You will learn more about avian flu, its signs, symptoms and ways to protect your birds.
APHIS also offers biosecurity materials including videos, checklists and a toolkit available at Defend the Flock Resource Center.
Everyone involved in poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial producer, should review their biosecurity activities to ensure the health of their birds. Additionally, the USDA updates the latest HPAI detections on its website.