The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on January 7 adopted an emergency rule to establish a quarantine zone for avian influenza that includes parts of Benton and Franklin counties, covering an area of roughly 20 miles around two locations where avian influenza has been identified in flocks of mixed poultry and other birds.
The quarantine area restricts the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products out of the identified zone. Exemptions will be made for operations that obtain special permits and meet specific criteria.
On January 2, WSDA activated a multi-agency response plan following the confirmation of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in domestic birds in a Benton County flock. Later, a second infected flock was identified in the area. Work was completed January 6 at both locations to control the spread of the virus. The joint team of WSDA and USDA officials will now work to clean and disinfect the two sites.
USDA plans to increase the amount of testing of poultry and other domestic birds within an area identified as 10 kilometers around the two flocks.
WSDA has not identified any new cases of avian influenza. The virus has not been found in commercial poultry anywhere in Washington or the United States. Washington’s commercial poultry industry has a robust avian influenza testing program and WSDA conducts weekly surveillance testing and health inspections at live bird markets in the state.
The biggest risk continues to be the presence of two highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza (H5N2 and H5N8) in migratory wild waterfowl populations. WSDA is encouraging bird owners to protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl and remain vigilant in their biosecurity measures.