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Avian influenza quarantine lifted in Okanogan County

— Early this afternoon the state Department of Agriculture lifted the avian influenza (bird flu) quarantine zones in Riverside and Oroville.

The first quarantine was established Jan. 29 surrounding Jim Hensarling’s farm in Riverside and a second quarantine zone was set Feb. 2 in Oroville.

“Washington State Department of Agriculture has determined that the avian influenza detected in these two Okanogan County flocks does not appear to have spread beyond those two sites,” spokesman Hector Castro said. “Both flocks were euthanized following the detection of the disease.”

Castro said veterinarians with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state visited numerous locations in the quarantine areas and tested samples from several birds at these sites. All samples tested negative for avian influenza.

As a result of the quarantines being lifted, there are no restrictions on the movement of poultry or poultry products anywhere in state.

Castro said all quarantines that have been established as part of state Department of Agricultures’ response to earlier avian influenza detections have now been lifted, including previous quarantines in Clallam, Benton and Franklin counties.

“None of the viruses detected in Washington have been associated with human illnesses and there is no immediate public health concern,” he said. “However, public health officials have contacted owners of identified infected flocks as a precaution.”

The virus has not been detected in any commercial poultry operations in Washington.

Because migratory wild waterfowl can carry avian influenza, including highly pathogenic avian influenza, officials caution bird owners to protect their domestic birds from contact with wild waterfowl and remain vigilant in their biosecurity measures.

Officials said avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, but poultry should always be properly cooked.


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