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Avian Flu Found in Southern WA

The Washington department of Agriculture has now confirmed the Avian flu virus in a domestic flock of chickens in Benton County in South central Washington. The avian flu was first detected in wild birds in Washington state a couple weeks ago, and has now been confirmed in a small flock of chickens, ducks and turkeys near the town of Benton City.

Ag communications director Hector Castro says the flock owner had fifty of his birds die in a single week. He says they have been doing testing of some other birds that may have been in contact with the infected flock, but those results haven’t come in yet. He says that the rest of the infected flock will be put down:

Castro: “There is a USDA program to compensate owners when something like that occurs, for the birds that have to be euthanized. Because basically they are working with us to make sure it doesn’t spread to other flocks.”

Castro is urging those who raise chickens or other poultry to try keep them away from wild birds. He says anyone who suspects their birds might be ill to contact the Ag department at the number 800-606-3056.
He says most commercial poultry operations have vigorous testing programs and enclosed facilities that should prevent spread of any illness in their flocks.

Castro stresses that meat and eggs from birds that are ill is safe for humans to consume, and he says there is no evidence the avian flu can be passed to humans. 

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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