First case of avian flu in Alaska recognized in Mat-Su yard flock

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By Anchorage Every day Information

Up to date: 14 hours in the past Printed: 20 hours in the past

Alaska has recognized its first case involving the extremely pathogenic fowl flu viruses which have led to the deaths of thousands and thousands of birds throughout the Decrease 48 this yr.

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 fowl advocates and yard flock homeowners 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 response to 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 may pose a menace 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 are 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 homeowners to take precautions like retaining their birds out of contact with wild birds and avoiding virus transmission by means of clothes, footwear or instruments.

“We’re counting on flock homeowners to keep watch over their animals for indicators of sickness, and to report any attainable instances of avian influenza promptly to their very own veterinarian or to our workplace,” Gerlach mentioned.

Regarding indicators embrace the “sudden dying of a number of birds within the flock, nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing, or respiratory misery,” state officers mentioned, including: “Different indicators embrace a major drop in water consumption, diarrhea, lethargy, irregular habits or problem 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]

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