US - Two quarantine areas have been set in Okanogan County, Washington, to control poultry movements following detection of the avian influenza virus in two mixed poultry flocks in recent days. The H5N2 variant of highly pathogenic avian flu virus has been identified in the first flock to be affected.
On 2 February, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) adopted an emergency rule to establish a second quarantine zone in Okanogan County, covering an area of roughly six miles around a site in Oroville where avian influenza was confirmed in a flock of mixed poultry and other birds.
The quarantine restricts the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products out of the identified zone with exemptions made for operations that obtain special permits and meet specific criteria.
WSDA received test results on 31 January that found the flock was infected with the avian influenza virus, though additional tests are needed to identify the specific strain. This second infected flock consists of about 100 birds, with at least half already succumbing to the disease. The flock owners contacted WSDA initially to report that approximately 40 pheasants and 12 turkeys had died.
The quarantine is the second established quarantine in Okanogan County. The agency established the first quarantine last week in an area around Riverside where a flock of nearly 5,000 mixed birds has been confirmed as positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2. A team of veterinarians from the USDA and WSDA are working on response plans for both flocks.
Currently, WSDA has a third avian influenza quarantine zone in place in Clallam County, a response to an infected flock discovered there. Tests on birds from flocks in the surrounding area have all come back negative for avian influenza.
Because migratory wild waterfowl populations can carry the disease, including the highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza (H5N2 and H5N8), WSDA is encouraging bird owners to protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl and remain vigilant in their biosecurity measures.
There is no immediate public health concern due to the avian influenza virus detected, however public health officials routinely contact owners of infected flocks as a precaution. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be properly cooked.
You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.