WILDLIFE

Avian flu kills wild birds in four more counties in Utah

Jan 12, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: Jan 13, 2023, 3:38 pm
The avian flu was detected in wild birds in 13 Utah Counties....
More wild birds have been found with avian flu, in Utah. (Photo Credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
(Photo Credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY  —  The highly pathogenic avian influenza, HPAI, was first found in Utah back in April of 2022. Since then it has spread to 13 Counties throughout Utah.

Four Counties have found cases just in the past few months. 

The avian flu was detected in wild birds in 13 Counties: Cache, Carbon, Davis, Millard, Salt Lake, Sanpete, Tooele, Utah, Weber, and just since September, Duchesne, Morgan, Summit and Uintah County.

Utah Divison of Wildlife Resource officials collect all the birds and sends them to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, in Logan, for testing. Confirming that they had HPAI.

The samples are also being sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.

During the summer months, the number of birds found with the virus decreased. The fall migration and winter brought more cases of the Avian Flu.

This strain of the flu has been more deadly than previous strains to wild birds. However, it is very fatal to domestic birds.

The virus spread from bird to bird through oral and nasal discharge and feces. It can easily be spread to domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys or ducks, through contaminated boots or clothing. 

What do if you come upon an infected bird

If you find a group of five or more dead birds, contact the DWR.

“Report it to us, and we will come collect them for testing. We are continuing to monitor this virus in wild bird populations.” said Ginger Stout, a DWR Veterinarian. “This particular strain is affecting more wild birds and is more widespread than the last outbreak of HPAI  in the U.S.”

While this virus isn’t usually transmitted to humans, it has been found in one person in Colorado. However, the CDC has still said this is a low-risk Virus for humans.

If hunting wild birds, check the bird for any signs of disease or illness. Wear gloves when handling birds, and wash hands with soap and water to reduce your chance of infection. 

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