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Avian Influenza / Poultry Health & Disease
on January 9, 2015

Utah confirms avian influenza in wild duck

The H5N8 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed January 9 by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

The state of Utah reported highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in a wild bird in Davis county. 

The H5N8 bird flu strain was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, in an American widgeon duck, on January 9. Several other wild birds taken by hunters near the Great Salt Lake in Davis County are also undergoing tests.

“This discovery of avian influenza in a wild bird is not unexpected, considering that Utah sits in a major migratory bird flight path,” said Dr. Warren Hess, acting state veterinarian with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “The possibility of the disease being transmitted to domestic backyard bird flocks remains high, and we advise bird owners to take extra biosecurity measures to protect their flocks.”

“We have not diagnosed avian influenza in Utah’s domestic poultry population, but the presence of the virus in migratory waterfowl poses a potential risk to our backyard poultry,” Dr. Hess says. “This event underscores the importance of biosecurity for backyard bird owners. We strongly encourage owners to eliminate any contact between their birds and wild birds. We also want them to monitor their flock closely and report sick birds.”

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