BENTON COUNTY, Wash. — The Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) has confirmed the first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI, or bird flu) detected in Benton County in 2023. It reported very low risk to the general public on February 10, after multiple birds from one backyard flock suddenly died the week before.
BFHD is reportedly in contact with everyone who worked around these birds, reporting no sicknesses.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) wants to reach out to anyone with a flock, whether commercial or domestic, within six miles of the infected flock. The WSDA is asking everyone with domestic flocks to report it online, in order to make it easier for WSDA to know where backyard flocks are. Flock owners can also find out if they are in the surveillance zone by reporting their flock online.
“The risk of our domestic and commercial poultry being exposed to and contracted HPAI remains high,” said Dr. Amber Itle, Washington State Veterinarian. “Suspending outdoor access in flocks where there is a risk of wild bird interactions is still recommended, as well as enhancing biosecurity, covering outdoors runs, etc.”
This case poses very low risk to humans, according to BFHD. All poultry growers and owners should keep an eye out for signs of bird flu.