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Alaska has recognized its first case involving the extremely pathogenic chicken 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 stated in a press release Saturday.
Many wild chicken 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, based on the U.S. Division of Agriculture.
Specialists stated that based mostly on migratory chicken 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,” stated 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 stated 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 fee for poultry and raptors like hawks, eagles or owls is particularly 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 stated. The Division of Environmental Conservation urged flock homeowners to take precautions like maintaining 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 control 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 stated.
Regarding indicators embrace the “sudden demise of a number of birds within the flock, nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing, or respiratory misery,” state officers stated, including: “Different indicators embrace a big 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 stated 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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