A new case of infectious bursal disease (IBD) virus, which is not known to infect humans or other animals, has now been confirmed in one flock of birds in the state of Washington, according to a report from Washington State University (WSU).

The viral poultry disease can result in high death losses in flocks, affecting young birds significantly. The disease can also suppress the birds' immune system, making them more vulnerable to secondary disease resulting in birds that do not die quickly.

Other forms of the virus are present throughout the U.S., but this new version has been reported only prior in California, and now, the state of Washington. The disease is not a regulated, reportable one, and is usually managed by poultry veterinarians and flock owners through biosecurity and disinfection.


Wild birds, such as healthy ducks, guinea fowl, quail and pheasants, have been found to be naturally infected with IBD virus, but they do not appear to be significant in the spread of disease to domestic poultry, according to WSU.

Diagnosis is based on clinical signs including death losses, depression and ruffling of feathers, poor appetite, huddling, an unsteady gate, reluctance to rise and diarrhea. As a result, the disease can be confused with other poultry diseases.

Experts advise that definitive diagnosis is made through post-mortem examination and virus testing. WSU says the Washington State University-Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories in Pullman, Wash., and the WSU Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Puyallup, Wash., can provide assistance and testing of recently deceased birds.