A third outbreak of avian influenza was detected earlier this week in Washington state.  State and federal agriculture officials culled about 120 backyard chickens, geese, and ducks in Clallam County, 125 miles northwest of Seattle, after infections of H5N2 were confirmed.  The virus has not been found in any commercial flocks in the United States and there are no immediate public health concerns, federal agriculture officials said.

In addition this week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, through increased avian influenza surveillance, identified on Wednesday cases of H5N8 in wild ducks in western and southern Idaho.  Officials also confirmed H5N2 avian influenza in a small backyard chicken flock in Canyon County, Idaho as well as in falcons that were part of a private, noncommercial flock.

These cases coincide with the winter’s southern migration of wild waterfowl, which, if infected, can pass the virus to domestic birds.  Agriculture officials are warning bird owners to keep their flocks away from migratory birds that have spread avian influenza.  “All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, need to continue practicing good biosecurity, preventing contact between their birds and wild birds and reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Joelle Hayden.