Bird flu reaches five counties in Utah

May 26, 2022, 4:00 PM
Group of pelicans on the water. Bird flu was found in pelicans....
Four American white pelicans forage in Utah Lake on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Photo credit: Scott G Winterton /Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said that bird flu is spreading throughout the state. On Thursday it confirmed that dead birds in five counties have tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, referred to as bird flu.

Utah’s spread so far

The DWR said that 10 wild birds had tested positive for the avian flu as of May 26. Counties with infected birds include Salt Lake, Cache, Weber, Utah, Tooele, and Carbon counties.

Birds that tested positive include Canada geese and pelicans, which were some of the most recent birds confirmed to have died from the virus. 

Two pelicans were found May 12 and a Canada goose was found May 16, all on the shore of Scofield Reservoir in Carbon County. The DWR collected the birds and sent them first to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan, then to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa for testing.

The Iowa laboratory confirmed the birds had the avian flu.

The water at Scofield Reservoir is treated. Because of that, the Department of Environmental Quality said the virus should not impact drinking water or recreational activities at Scofield.

Other birds that have died from the virus include great horned owls, hawks, turkey vultures, and ducks. The DWR said it was still waiting on test results from additional dead birds.

How its spread

Avian flu is very contagious in birds and can cause high mortality in domestic birds. The virus can potentially spread to wild birds. If it does, it typically affects waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and scavengers.

According to the DWR, “The virus is spread among birds through nasal and oral discharge, as well as fecal droppings. It can be spread to backyard poultry and domestic birds through contaminated shoes or vehicles.”

The DWR said people should not worry about removing bird feeders –unless they also have domestic birds– because songbirds typically are not affected by the virus.

What to do if you find dead birds

“If anyone finds a group of five or more dead waterfowl or shorebirds or any individual dead scavengers or raptors, they should report it to the nearest DWR office and absolutely make sure not to touch the birds or pick them up,” DWR Veterinarian Ginger Stout said.

“Just report it to us, and we will come collect them for testing. We are continuing to monitor this virus in wild bird populations. It typically doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall populations of waterfowl, but it’s likely that we will have some die now that it’s been confirmed in wild birds in the state.”

To report symptoms of the bird flu in domestic birds visit the Utah Department of Agriculture’s website.

Bird flu and humans

As for humans, the DWR said “Although the current strain of the avian flu presents a low risk to people, it has been confirmed in at least one person in Colorado during this most recent outbreak.”

The CDC has information online about keeping safe from bird flu.

The DWR has additional information on the virus and the Utah outbreak on its website.


Today’s Top Stories


A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
21 hours ago
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Ho...
Lindsay Aerts

State elections leaders dismiss state lawmakers claims of vote switching

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The State Elections Office says all of the state’s voting machines are working correctly ahead of Primary Election Day Tuesday. This comes after Blanding Representative Phil Lyman made claims on social media, that some of the machines were changing people’s votes. Screenshot of Phil Lyman’s social media post. Lyman posted on […]
21 hours ago
Over 200 behives broke on I-80 as the semi-truck transporting them rolled. Photo credit: Park City ...
Devin Oldroyd

Semi-truck transporting over 200 beehives rolls over on I-80

Over 200 behives broke on I-80 as the semi-truck transporting them rolled.
21 hours ago
File photo...
Simone Seikaly

Salt Lake City Police cancel Amber alert for 11-year-old girl

The abduction reportedly happened in Salt Lake City at 456 North and 1100 West. By early afternoon on Monday, the victim was found in Tooele.
21 hours ago
Protesters hold signs and chant at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 24, 2022, as ...
Simone Seikaly

Temporary stay issued for Utah’s trigger law

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Utah names multiple defendants and says Utah's abortion trigger law violates the state constitution.
21 hours ago
July fireworks Provo...
Samantha Herrera

Provo fire department sends out reminder about July fireworks

Provo Fire and Rescue put out a firework advisory for residents wanting to set off fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Bird flu reaches five counties in Utah