- Category: News
- Published: Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:47
- Written by Jack Wilbur
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Utah Backyard Bird Owners and Hunters Asked to Report Sick Birds
High pathogenic avian influenza reported in California, Washington and Oregon
((note: this article was posted January 7, 2015 and some of the information may be dated))
Utah’s wildlife and agriculture agencies are advising hunters and people with backyard poultry flocks to be aware that two strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) have been detected in wild birds in Washington and Oregon. No affected birds have been reported in Utah.
Utah sits in a major migratory bird flight path, so it’s possible the disease could be transmitted to domestic birds as waterfowl migrate through Utah.
“This discovery underscores the importance of biosecurity for backyard bird owners. We strongly encourage owners to take biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of their flocks being exposed to wild birds,” says Dr. Warren Hess, acting state veterinarian with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “We also advise bird owners to monitor their flock closely and to report sick birds to the Department of Agriculture and Food.”
Dr. Hess stresses that there is no immediate public health concern. To date, the particular strains of avian influenza found in California, Washington and Oregon have not been implicated in human disease. The immediate concern is for domestic bird populations in Utah.
Dr. Annette Roug, veterinarian with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), says avian influenza viruses occur naturally in wild birds, especially birds associated with aquatic habitats. “Most of these viruses are low pathogenic and rarely cause clinical signs in the birds they infect,” she says. “HPAI viruses, though, can lead to the death of wild birds,.”
USDA states that all poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat as long as they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit"
“As always,” Dr. Roug says, “both wild bird meat and domestic poultry should be properly cooked. Hunters should take routine precautions when handling game, including wearing gloves when cleaning birds, washing their hands after cleaning, cleaning equipment and surfaces that come in contact with wild birds, and cooking wild birds thoroughly before eating the meat.”
Backyard flock owners can report sick birds to the Utah State Veterinarian’s office at 1-801-538-4910 or by calling the USDA toll free at 1-866-536-7593.
Wild bird deaths can be reported to the DWR at: 801-589-3448 or 801-538-4700
Utah’s commercial poultry industry has a robust avian influenza testing program. In addition, the DWR routinely conducts mortality surveillance of wild bird populations. The HPAI virus has not currently been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States.
posted: January 7, 2015