UTAH (ABC4) – Agricultural officials have confirmed that a case of the bird flu has been discovered in Utah on Monday.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) says the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus was discovered in a small flock of backyard birds in Utah County on Friday.
“Our state veterinarian’s office was notified of symptomatic birds in Utah County and our team was immediately dispatched to assess the situation,” said Utah State Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Taylor. “Proper steps have been taken to prevent further spread of the disease.”
The area surrounding the birds has been quarantined and officials say the infected birds have been removed to prevent further disease spread at this time.
Officials say the likelihood of the avian flu infecting a human being is low at this time and does not present an immediate public health concern.
UDAF and federal officials are working to administer surveillance and testing around the infected birds.
Authorities are asking anyone who may own birds to “vigilantly watch your flock for symptoms of HPAI, which include high death loss among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination in birds.”
UDAF has released a map showing the affected areas in Utah at this time.
Officials say the current bird flu outbreak has been detected in over 600 wild birds throughout 31 states and among 27 million poultry birds in 26 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The outbreak continues spreading amongst flocks throughout the U.S., leading to the death of millions of egg-laying birds. Paired with supply-chain issues, egg prices have been soaring across the nation.
Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City announced on Monday that preventative measures will be taken to stop the spread of the avian flu to their birds.
The Aviary has temporarily closed two out of 17 themed exhibits that house birds most at risk for contracting the virus. Officials have also installed netting over other exhibits to “prevent wild birds from congregating with sensitive species.
“Many zoos across the United States have taken similar measures to ensure the safety of their birds and prevent the potential spread of the virus,” says aviary officials. “We have been proactively planning our response to this virus for many years. Our bird care team is appropriately trained for these situations, and we are in close contact with the USDA and following all CDC guidelines for avian flu.”
If bird owners notice anyone in their flock experiencing symptoms, they should immediately contact the state veterinarian’s office by clicking here.
WebMD is currently asking bird lovers to temporarily take down backyard bird feeders to help stop the potential influenza spread.
“During these unprecedented times, we recommend doing anything that we can to try and help our wild bird populations,” says WebMD. “Because the science is unclear on the role of songbirds in this current H5N1 outbreak, one consideration is to not encourage birds to gather together at places such as bird feeders or bird baths.”
To check out more information and resources for owners and caregivers, click here.