Extremely contagious avian influenza found in Oregon; The owner of the chicken took precautions

(Update: Add Video, Bend Chicken Owner Comments, Press Conference)

The CDC says this does not mean immediate concern for public health

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Service on Friday confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a nonprofit (non-poultry) farm in Lynn County – the first confirmed case in the country. Oregon since 2015.

As the disease has spread for some time, chickens and turkeys have been destroyed, and many bird owners, including those in the High Desert, are taking precautions.

Southwest Bend owner Annie Christzberg told NewsChannel on Friday that she was aware of the growing epidemic across the country. He says he saw this in the news and that there are two active groups for local chicken owners on Facebook. He began taking precautionary measures last week to save his birds.

Kritzberg’s chickens are in his yard, surrounded and protected from the sky and wild birds. He said he would completely isolate them if necessary. Bird manure and water are under the roof, so wild bird droppings cannot enter them.

“We bought a car shed to catch chickens during the day if the bird flu passes, and part of it keeps all the wild birds away from them,” Christzberg said. “So I have four walls, surround them, and I’ve got a roof that can be raised above the windows so they can be ventilated.”

Several geese from a nonprofit herd of about 100 waterfowl died unexpectedly on a farm in Lynn County, and federal officials said Friday they died of bird flu. Authorities in Washington also reported on Friday that chickens and turkeys in a herd of about 50 birds on a nonprofit farm in Washington’s Pacific County had contracted the disease.

Washington State Veterinarian Dana R. “In this particular epidemic, it was first migrated by wild waterfowl and now the birds are migrating back to the north,” Dobbs said.

Kritzberg owns chickens for the quality of their eggs.

“I’ve always wanted to be a chicken, and when I bought this house a year ago, I got it,” he said. “The eggs are amazing because my birds get fresh vegetables every morning – cabbage, cilantro and parsley, fermented grains. They’re very spoiled. They’re not farm animals, they’re more like pets.”

He said he loved sitting outside on a good day and seeing Perry, Fernando and Margarita.

In Lynn County, some of the infected birds died. The Oregon Department of Agriculture said the rest will be euthanized humanely.

HPAI (H5N1) is a highly contagious virus that is easily transmitted to wild and domestic bird species. However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest HPAI diagnosis does not pose a threat to public health.

“We learned that HPAI was coming after a bald eagle test in British Columbia in early March,” the doctor said. Ryan Scholz, Oregon Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian. “Since that identification, we have been working with our commercial poultry producers, veterinarians and the community on how to protect poultry.

“Now all bird owners need to maintain good biosafety, avoid contact with their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or abnormal deaths so the ODA can provide testing.”

On Friday, HPAI should respond quickly to prevent the spread of ODA. The owner of the herd in the affected yard reported death and referred at least one of the birds to the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for initial samples. Samples were also sent to the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

Meanwhile, the ODA quickly quarantined the affected areas. The ODA will euthanize all additional poultry on the property to prevent the spread of the disease. Poultry of this farm are not used for food and are not included in the food system. There are no facts about commercial birds in the country.

The ODA and federal partners are working together on additional surveillance and testing in the vicinity under avian influenza control plans.

Dr. Ryan Scholz, an Oregon veterinarian, said of the Lynn County case: “Its long and short – the producer noticed that one day the crows flew in with some of the crows – and the next day, he literally described them. The flies were falling.”

“We want to catch and eradicate this disease as soon as possible, and we want to protect our commercial poultry industry, as well as some of our backyards that sell eggs and do similar things,” Scholz said.

Diseases do not pose a threat to humans, and farm birds are not used for food.

Wildlife and agriculture officials in the northwest say the virus appears to be primarily affecting waterfowl, but those who keep singing birds need to take extra precautions to clean their feeders more often as a precaution.

Bird flu has not been detected in either state, they said

If you find a bird that is sick or dying, the ODA will ask you not to touch it; report it. For poultry, call ODA at 1-800-347-7028 or email npip@oda.oregon.gov. For wildlife, call the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Oregon at 1-866-968-2600.

For more information on HPAI, visit the ODAs bird flu website. You can learn more about bird flu, its signs, symptoms, and ways to protect birds.

APHIS also has biosafety materials, including videos, checklists, and tools available at the Flock Resource Center.

Everyone involved in poultry production, from small farms to large commercial producers, should consider biosafety efforts to ensure the health of their birds. In addition, the USDA updates the latest HPAI definitions on its website.

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