Bird flu detected in King County

Two backyard flocks in King County are the latest to test positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, on Tuesday.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture was notified of sudden deaths and signs of lethargy among the small flocks.

The first case of bird flu in Washington was announced May 5. The latest two bring the total to 11 backyard flocks in eight counties.

All infected flocks were backyard flocks that had substantial contact with wild waterfowl.

Officials suggest bird owners should withdraw from exhibitions at fairs until at least the end of June.

“If we can just hang in there until the end of June, hopefully, we can get through the worst of it,” state veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle said. “It is all about reducing risk. Bringing birds from different flocks together definitely increases opportunities for this virus to spread and impact more birds.”

Bird owners can also wash their boots or shoes before entering and when leaving chicken coops, sanitizing equipment and wearing clean clothing around the birds.

If your flock is experiencing sudden death or illness of multiple birds, contact the WSDA Sick Bird Hotline at 800-606-3056.

More information can be found on the WSDA Bird Flu webpage.