- Andrea GantzWashington state officials established a quarantine zone in parts of Okanogan County after avian influenza was detected there.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has adopted an emergency rule to establish a quarantine zone in parts of Okanogan County, covering an area of approximately six miles around a site in Riverside, Washington, where avian influenza was detected in a flock of game birds.
The quarantine restricts the movement of eggs, poultry or poultry products within and out of the identified zone with exemptions made for operations that obtain special permits and meet specific criteria.
Currently, a quarantine zone also covers part of Clallam County where a backyard flock was identified as having avian influenza. That quarantine has been in place since January 21. An earlier quarantine in parts of Benton and Franklin counties was lifted on January 27.
This most recent case of avian influenza was discovered after the flock owners contacted WSDA to report that approximately 40 pheasants and 12 turkeys had died. Samples from the birds were tested and results showed the birds were infected with avian influenza, although more detailed testing is taking place to confirm the virus strain.
A team of veterinarians from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) visited the area to contact bird owners in the immediate vicinity of the infected flock in order to obtain samples for testing. The two agencies are working with Okanogan County Public Health and the flock owners to develop a response plan to this latest report.
The site of the flock is under quarantine and no birds are being moved from the property. As recently as November, the flock owners had tests run on their birds which, at that time, showed no sign of avian influenza in the flock.
Because migratory wild waterfowl populations can carry the disease, including the highly-pathogenic strains of avian influenza (H5N2 and H5N8), WSDA is encouraging bird owners to protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl and remain vigilant in their biosecurity measures.