SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The first case of the avian flu has been discovered in Salt Lake County on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in Utah to five.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) says so far, the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) totals one in Utah County, three in Cache County, and one in Salt Lake County.

The first case in Salt Lake County was discovered in a backyard bird flock on the west side of the county.

“We urge bird owners with flocks of all sizes to take extreme caution with their bird’s habitats,” said Utah State Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Taylor. “The more potential exposure the birds may have to wild and migrating birds, the greater the risk of the flock contracting the disease.”

Officials believe the disease in Salt Lake County was contracted after contact with wild waterfowl that may have access to the backyard property. Health officials have quarantined the flock and depopulation measures have been implemented to contain the disease.

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).

Utah bird owners are urged to continually monitor their birds for signs and symptoms of potential avian influenza infection. 

“Symptoms include high death loss among flocks, nasal discharge, decreased appetite or water consumption, and lack of coordination in birds,” says UDAF. If owners notice their birds experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact the state veterinarian’s office immediately at statevet@utah.gov.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern.

Recently, the first case of human bird flu infection was confirmed in a Colorado prison. Officials say the infected man had been in a prerelease program focusing on removing chickens from an infected farm.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections do not present an immediate public health concern.,” says UDAF. “One case of this strain of HPAI has been detected in the United States. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of all poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F is recommended as a general food safety precaution.”

“Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds,” says UDAF. 

To check out additional USDA resources and tips for flock owners, click here.