Alaska has recognized its first case involving the extremely pathogenic fowl flu viruses which have led to the deaths of tens of millions of birds throughout the Decrease 48 this 12 months.
The case in Alaska concerned “a non-commercial yard flock of chickens and geese within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough,” the state Division of Environmental Conservation mentioned in a press release Saturday.
Many wild fowl advocates and yard flock house owners within the state have been watching the unfold of avian influenza throughout the U.S. with concern. As of Saturday, over 35.5 million home poultry in 30 states have died from the virus or wanted to be euthanized due to publicity, in keeping with the U.S. Division of Agriculture.
Consultants mentioned that primarily based on migratory fowl patterns, it was most likely solely a matter of time earlier than the illness reached Alaska.
“With this confirmed case, it’s clear that migrating birds have introduced avian influenza to Alaska this spring,” mentioned Dr. Robert Gerlach, the state veterinarian.
[Alaska wild bird advocates and chicken owners wary as avian flu outbreak sweeps through Lower 48]
Whereas the danger to human well being is low, Gerlach has mentioned that avian influenza might pose a risk to not solely the state’s home birds but in addition wild birds, together with geese, shore birds, vultures and eagles. There’s no therapy for birds which might be contaminated, and the mortality charge for poultry and raptors like hawks, eagles or owls is very excessive.
Gerlach’s workplace is working with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Well being Inspection Service to answer the avian flu case, state officers mentioned. The Division of Environmental Conservation urged flock house owners to take precautions like retaining their birds out of contact with wild birds and avoiding virus transmission by clothes, footwear or instruments.
“We’re counting on flock house owners to keep watch over their animals for indicators of sickness, and to report any potential instances of avian influenza promptly to their very own veterinarian or to our workplace,” Gerlach mentioned.
Regarding indicators embody the “sudden loss of life of a number of birds within the flock, nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing, or respiratory misery,” state officers mentioned, including: “Different indicators embody a major drop in water consumption, diarrhea, lethargy, irregular conduct or issue strolling, blue discoloration of the comb and wattles or a swollen comb, wattles, legs, or head.”
The environmental conservation division mentioned residents can report suspected avian flu instances, whether or not in wild birds or their very own animals, to Gerlach at 907-375-8215 or [email protected]