Bird flu, a highly pathogenic form of avian influenza has been detected in the flock of 100 birds in Winston, Oregon according to a unit of the USDA. USDA in its website has stated that about 100 birds mostly guinea fowl and chickens have tested positive for Bird Flu.
The USDA in a statement said, “Birds from the affected backyard flock will not enter the food chain. All poultry, poultry products and wild birds are safe to eat as long as they are properly handled and cooked.”
The virus strain has been identified as H5N8 and till date has not been found in commercial poultry anywhere in US according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The agency also reported that this week virus strains of Bird Flu has been detected in wild birds in Washington state.
Tom Elam, the president of FarmEcon LLC in Carmel, Indiana said, “A commercial flock operated responsibly would have very little risk. It’s not something you want to panic about. But you have to realize that even in the best situation, things can happen. It’s disturbing, but at this point, it’s not a disaster.”
Bird Flu has spread in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia and has led to a small crisis with poultry processors scrambling to find enough turkey for Christmas tables. Already 155,000 birds in the Fraser Valley either died or were euthanized after avian influenza was detected at eight sites. Washington state borders British Columbia and this is one reason of worry.
Will Sawyer, vice president of U.S. animal protein research for Rabobank International in Atlanta, said in a telephone interview, “The bird flu is on the west coast of the U.S., and it’s being moved by these migratory birds that are being moved from north to south. That should give us confidence that if it does continue to move, it’ll move in that direction and not towards the southeastern U.S.”
The Oregon virus strain is much akin to the strains found in captive Gyrfalcons in Whatcom County. The H5N8 strain has also been detected in birds in Europe, India, Egypt and Mexico, according to Rabobank. Temporary restriction on poultry from British Columbia has been enforced by The U.S., Taiwan and South Africa. The British Columbia is the third largest Turkey producing province in Canada.