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Bird flu found in Southern Willamette Valley

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 5:46 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The bird flu known as H5N1, has been on the rise across the country, and now it has made its way Southern Willamette Valley.

Wildlife officials are calling it low risk to the public, but they still want you to be careful. Several Canada goose goslings were found at Alton Baker Park in Eugene and tested positive for avian influenza.

Earlier this month, the first Oregon case was in a backyard poultry flock confirmed in Linn County and one case in domestic birds tested positive in Lane County. And now the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture issued a quarantine for poultry in Lane County to prevent any more cases.

The virus can be found in ducks, geese, swans and can be contagious among chickens, and turkeys. Dr. Amber Idle, Washington State Veterinarian, says to keep birds away from waterfowl.

“If you have a pond and you know there’s waterfowl there, you know there’s ducks, you know there’s mallards, you know there’s snow geese, you know there’s Canada geese, and you know that they’re spending time there, you can assume that there’s a pretty high viral load out there in the environment,” says Dr. Idle.

According to the CDC, the risk to the public is low, however, there is one human case in Colorado. Dr. Idle is suggesting to stop the sale of live poultry markets to help avoid transmission.

“The reason I didn’t mandate we stop, and we ban all markets and exhibitions in that sort of thing, is because what ends up happening, is people just take their sales out to the parking lot and then we have zero traceability of those animals.”

Here are some ways to stay safe: Keep bird feeders clean and take them down if you see sick or dead birds nearby or in your neighborhood. Keep your birds, like poultry, separated from wild birds. If you are at the park or an open area, do not feed ducks or geese.

When it comes to pets, Dr. Idle says there’s no science that says the virus can infect a cat or dog but to still be cautious because like humans, they could carry the virus on their paws in a contaminated area. She says don’t allow your dog to chase geese or any kind of bird.

Two zoos in Washington have moved birds indoors and away from public view. The Oregon Zoo said they have not moved any birds at the moment.

If you encounter a dead or sick bird, please contact Oregon Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600 or emailing Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov

For more information, please visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/avian-flu/index.asp