The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds in Whatcom County, Washington. Two separate virus strains were identified: H5N2 avian influenza was found in northern pintail ducks and H5N8 avian influenza was found in captive gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds.
Neither virus has been found in commercial poultry anywhere in the United States, the agency stated.
The avian influenza findings in Whatcom County were quickly reported and identified due to increased surveillance for avian influenza in light of the H5N2 avian influenza affecting commercial poultry in British Columbia, Canada, which is directly north of Washington. Whatcom County borders Canada.
The State of Washington, USDA, and other federal partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing of birds in the nearby area.
APHIS encourages all bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state or federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at +1.866.536.7593.
Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found on the APHIS website.