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January 2, 2015 at 7:24 PM

Bird flu found in backyard poultry flock in Southeast Washington

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA— Washington state officials say avian influenza has been found in a backyard poultry flock in southeast Washington. The H5 avian influenza virus was previously found in wild birds in northwest Washington. Officials say there’s no immediate public-health concern.

State Agriculture Department officials said Friday the virus has not been found in commercial poultry in Washington or elsewhere in the United States. They say the virus poses no apparent threat to humans but highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and sometimes to wild birds.

Officials say the owner of the flock of about 150 birds near Benton City in Benton County,  contacted the Agriculture Department after losing nearly 50 birds in the past week.

The virus confirmed in the flock is similar to the virus found in a Washington captive gyrfalcon last month, although additional testing is being conducted to identify the strain.

British Columbia officials say an avian influenza outbreak there has spread to more than a half dozen poultry farms and affected about 245,000 birds.

Comments | More in Environment, General news | Topics: bird flu, H5 avian influenza

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