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Bird Flu Cancels Poultry Exhibit At Deschutes Co. Fair

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s ninth case of bird flu was found this week in Deschutes County. The flock of 40 ducks and chickens is north of the previous incidents, pushing the Dept. of Agriculture's quarantine area to include southern Redmond and the fairgrounds. "The Deschutes County Fair will not have poultry at the fair this year," State Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz tells KBND News. The fair begins August third, which is within the two-week qurantine surveillance window. 

He says the risk is not from the domestic birds, but from attendees who might expose prized poultry and then infect their entire flock, "The risk of a fair goer having just been out at the county park, wandering the pathway, walking through some goose poop that happens to be infected with influenza, not washing their hands or doing something like that, and coming to the fair and wandering down the chicken aisle and potentially exposing those birds to virus is going to be a risk."

Deschutes County isn't the only one dealing with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), "There are other fairs that are kind of modifying what they’re doing with poultry based on the risk. There’s still a risk of this disease anywhere," says Dr. Scholz, "Lane County [fair], which is going on right now, they opted to do just a one-day come in, show the birds, go home. Rather than have the birds there for the whole fair." He says ODA is working with Deschutes County's 4-H to allow a similar market bird sale, "So, the birds that kids have been raising that were planned to be sold at the fair in the auction - so that those kids can still do that - Because those birds are processed immediately after sale. They’re going to do just a really short one-day, bring them in, show them, sell them and then process them right away. But otherwise, the rest of the birds will not be at fair this year."

Central Oregon seems particularly susceptible to the spread of bird flu. Dr. Scholz believes it might be because of the number of private ponds, "It’s primarily people who have domestic waterfowl and other poultry species and have a pond where wild ducks and geese are coming to that pond, co-mingling with their domestic ducks and then, that’s how these infections are starting." He says the virus will continue to spread as long as wild and domestic birds are allowed to co-mingle. 

This latest case impacts the quarantine area because, like the other local cases, eggs from this flock were sold to the public. But, because the property is north of the previous locations, the quarantine radius expands north. In this latest case, all 40 chickens and ducks were euthanized.

ODA provides an online map of the quarantined sites in Oregon. People may also enter their address using the online tool to determine whether their property is included in the quarantine area. The purpose of the quarantine is to prevent the movement of poultry and poultry products from within the affected area giving state and federal officials time to conduct surveillance to ensure no additional cases of HPAI exist. The quarantine also applies to importing all birds from states where a state or federal quarantine is in place.

For more tips on protecting your backyard flock, please visit the ODA online at Avian Influenza.

 

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