Monday, October 17, 2022

Don’t “fall” victim to avian influenza as seasonal rains return

Amber Betts
WSDA Communications

It’s true, 30 days have passed since the latest detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a domestic flock in our state this year. The first case in 2022 was announced in May, since then, we’ve had a steady string of positive cases, until about 30 days ago.

Hold for applause.

That is incredible news, considering we’ve seen a steady climb in HPAI detection rates across the country. Our State Veterinarian says a big factor is the diligence and next-level biosecurity of our flock owners. Take a moment and pat yourself on the back.

Dr. Amber Itle, Washington State Veterinarian, says that another contributing factor to the decline in detections is that standing water has dried up, eliminating reservoirs for wild birds to congregate. 

However, the virus is still very prevalent in our environment; as we continue to see positive cases in wild birds right here in Washington.

The takeaway? You are doing great! Keep it up. Although this is an important milestone, flock owners should be cautious about relaxing biosecurity efforts. We are seeing surges across the Nation and even closer to home; including Idaho, Oregon, and California as the fall migration continues.

We must remain vigilant. Above all, avoid contact between your domestic flocks and wild waterfowl. If you do that, your flocks are less likely to contract the disease. 

Two important ways you can protect your flock from wild waterfowl is to protect their water supply and make sure spilled feed is picked up.

Wild birds are always looking for a free lunch. Our vets recommend to clean up spilled or uneaten feed right away, and make sure feed storage units are secure and free of holes.

Protect your flock’s water supply by keeping in clean, and in an area that wild birds cannot access it.

For additional information on the state’s bird flu status, visit