Monday, October 9, 2017

WSDA monitoring flock after waterfowl test positive for low pathogenic avian flu

Dr. Brian Joseph
Washington State Veterinarian

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) veterinarians detected a low pathogenic strain of avian influenza (LPAI H5) in a flock of waterfowl last weekend during a routine test of open class exhibition poultry at the Central Washington Fair in Yakima County.

Recent reports of these positive test results should not be cause for alarm. Although it’s always important to monitor flocks which have tested positive for an avian influenza strain, this low pathogenic strain is not the same as the HPAI H5N1 strain that makes people sick in other parts of the world. It is the strain of LPAI known to commonly circulate in North American waterfowl which does not readily infect chickens, although it can.

WSDA animal health specialists said this strain of
avian influenza is low risk for poultry and no risk to humans.
While it can potentially spread to domestic poultry or mutate into high pathogenic avian flu, we closely monitor any flocks that test positive for LPAI H5 or H7 to make sure we can respond quickly if circumstances change.

On Friday evening, Sept. 29, our veterinarians were notified that the duck flock from Lewis County tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza. The owners were advised to remove their birds from the fair and return them to the home farm. They cooperated and removed the flock the next morning. WSDA also issued “stop movement” orders to prevent the birds from being moved and to reduce chances that the disease would spread.

Moving forward
WSDA has partnered with the U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a continued health plan for the flock. There will be no depopulation in this case, and state officials will conduct further testing on the flock 21 days after the first test.

To improve biosecurity and help prevent infection, we urge you to keep any domestic ducks in your flock, and their water sources, separate from your chickens and wild ducks.

If you have any questions, email to reach our avian health specialists.