Alaska has recognized its first case involving the extremely pathogenic hen flu viruses which have led to the deaths of thousands and thousands 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 an announcement Saturday.
Many wild hen 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 accordance with the U.S. Division of Agriculture.
Consultants mentioned that primarily based on migratory hen 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 chance 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 additionally wild birds, together with geese, shore birds, vultures and eagles. There’s no therapy for birds which might be contaminated, and the mortality price 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 preserving their birds out of contact with wild birds and avoiding virus transmission via clothes, sneakers or instruments.
“We’re counting on flock house owners to regulate their animals for indicators of sickness, and to report any doable circumstances 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 habits 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 circumstances, whether or not in wild birds or their very own animals, to Gerlach at 907-375-8215 or [email protected]