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Davis Journal

Cases of Avian Influenza continue to grow in Utah

Jun 09, 2022 10:36AM ● By Tom Haraldsen

Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have now been confirmed in six Utah counties, serving as a warning to anyone with chickens or other birds to be on the lookout for symptoms. As of May 30, 10 wild birds have tested positive of avian flu in Cache, Weber, Salt Lake, Utah, Tooele and Carbon counties. No cases had been reported in Davis County as of that date.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said HPAI is highly contagious and could spread to other parts of the state, including to Davis County. There are a number of homes and farms in the county where residents raise chickens and other birds.

“The diagnosis of HPAI on this farm is devastating,” said Utah State Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Taylor. “UDAF is working to contain the disease and prevent it from spreading further in this area.”

In addition to chickens, other birds who’ve been infected include Canada geese, great horned owls, hawks, pelicans, turkey vultures and ducks. Test results from other dead birds are currently pending.

Taylor said the UDAF is continuing to work with federal, state, and local partners on the response plan and all infected birds will be depopulated. Additional surveillance and testing will be done in the surrounding area to help prevent further spread of HPAI.

Songbirds are not typically affected by avian flu, so people shouldn’t have to remove bird feeders unless they also have backyard chickens or domestic ducks, which are susceptible to the virus. However, it’s always recommended to regularly clean bird feeders and baths. 

Officials at UDAF urge bird owners in Utah to continue to be vigilant in checking their birds for symptoms and ensuring they are following good biosecurity practices. Symptoms include high death loss among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination in birds. If birds are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact the state veterinarian’s office immediately at [email protected] Early reporting and action will help to contain the disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern. No human cases of this strain of HPAI have been detected in the United States. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ̊F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.

Anyone involved with poultry production, from the small backyard to the large commercial

producer, should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit available at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/defend-the-f.... λ