TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-State agricultural officials have found cases of bird flu in domestic flocks of chickens in Gooding and Caribou counties. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), tests have confirmed multiple cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus in a flock of chickens in Gooding County and another flock in Caribou County. The virus is highly contagious and usually fatal to chickens and other poultry. HPAI spreads among wild geese and ducks and spreads to domestic birds. The midwest states have had to euthanize hundreds of millions of birds as avian influenza hit commercial poultry farms hard since the winter. ISDA said it will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the two cases. The agency said a quick response is necessary to stop any future spread of the virus. People can not get sick by eating infected meat as long as USDA cooking guidelines are followed. ISDA said the virus can spread to humans but it is rare. If a person were to get sick symptoms would include conjunctivitis, fever, lethargy, aches, coughing, or diarrhea. The virus spreads through direct contact among birds, typically through mucous and fecal matter. It can also be carried on objects like boots, tools, cars, and clothing. Symptoms among birds include lower appetite and activity, difficulty breathing, dark combs and wattles, and unexpected death. “It is essential for poultry owners to be vigilant in monitoring for illness and contacting the ISDA State Veterinarian immediately when HPAI symptoms are confirmed. HPAI is a reportable disease in Idaho, and veterinarians are required to report positive detections to the ISDA,” said ISDA in a statement. The agency recommends strong biosecurity standards to protect bird flocks which include limiting the number of people that interact with the animals, thorough washing of hands before and after touching the birds, and using specific clothing and tools around them. For more information go to the ISDA website.

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