Avoid contact with sick or dead wild birds

Submitted by Washington State Department of Health

The Washington State Department of Health and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ask the public to avoid contact with wild birds, especially sick or dead wild birds or their young. An outbreak of bird flu, also known as bird flu, is affecting wild birds including Canada geese, snow geese, bald eagles and other raptors. State officials are asking people who encounter sick or dead wild birds to alert WDFW using the agency’s reporting tool.

Although bird flu infections in humans are rare, human infections can occur when the virus enters a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. People may be at greater risk of infection with the avian influenza virus during close or prolonged unprotected contact (not wearing respiratory protection or eye protection) with infected birds or mucous membrane contaminated surfaces. saliva or droppings of infected birds.

“Although the risk to humans is low, bringing a sick bird to your home or veterinary hospital could spread infection to humans and other animals,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, scientific director of the State of Washington to the Department of Health. . “Don’t take any chances – the safest thing to do is to avoid contact and report the bird to Fish and Wildlife.”

According to WDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Katie Haman, “Avian flu in birds is often a fatal disease and unfortunately there is no vaccine or treatment. Handling sick birds or taking them to a veterinarian could spread the virus to new areas and increase the range of the virus.

Bird flu viruses, such as the H5N1 strain currently circulating in the United States, are also highly contagious among some species of domestic birds and can sicken and kill chickens, pheasants, and turkeys, among other domestic poultry. . The virus is often transmitted to domestic birds through interactions with wild birds.

Here’s how to report sick and dead wild and domestic birds:

Use an online form to report sick/dead wild birds suspected of avian influenza to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Report sick/dead domestic birds to the Washington State Department of Agriculture Avian Health Program: 1-800-606-3056 or visit Avian Flu | Washington State Department of Agriculture for more information on how to protect backyard flocks.

Bird hunters should follow standard safety measures to avoid potential exposure to bird flu and other viruses or bacteria.

If you develop flu-like symptoms within 10 days of contact with sick or dead wild birds, you should contact your local health jurisdiction and alert your health care provider of your recent contact with wild birds.

As a reminder, chicken, eggs and other poultry and poultry products are safe to eat when properly handled and cooked. Be sure to follow these steps for safer foods:

Wash hands and clean and sanitize work surfaces and equipment before and after contact with raw poultry.

Do not wash meat, chicken, turkey or eggs. Washing raw meat, chicken, turkey, or eggs can spread germs to your sink, countertops, and other kitchen surfaces. Cooking poultry thoroughly will kill harmful germs.

Separate raw and cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination.

Thoroughly cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep poultry stored at 40 F or lower, or in the freezer at 0 F or lower.

The Ministry of Health website is your source for a good dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the DOH Blog, Public Health Connection.

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