By Marcy Stamper
Quarantines were lifted on a poultry farm and a game-bird farm in northern and central Okanogan County on Wednesday (Feb. 25). The 21-day quarantines were imposed to control the spread of avian influenza, which had been detected in chickens, ducks and game birds at the two sites.
All birds — 4,000 mallard ducks, 775 pheasants and about 200 mixed quail, chukar, geese and chickens in Riverside; plus a smaller flock of 100 chickens and ducks in Oroville — were euthanized, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
The quarantine blocked the movement of birds or eggs into or out of the areas. Birds in the Riverside flock were raised for hunters, not for eggs or meat.
WSDA lifted the quarantines after determining that avian flu had not spread beyond those areas. Veterinarians from WSDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also tested birds at other locations within the quarantine zones. All samples tested negative for avian influenza.
Quarantines in three other Washington counties have also been lifted, meaning there are no restrictions on the movement of poultry or poultry products anywhere in the state.
The strain of avian flu is highly contagious among birds but has no documented transmission to humans in North America, according to Okanogan County Public Health. It does not affect meat or egg products, which are safe to eat when properly cooked.
Because the avian flu can be transmitted between wild and domestic birds, health authorities are continuing to monitor the health of birds.
Deaths or illness among domestic birds should be reported to the WSDA Avian Health Program at (800) 606-3056.
For wild birds, contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (800) 606-8768.