IDFG: 'Numerous' wild bird die offs due to Avian Flu, leave sick-looking birds alone

Posted at 2:49 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 17:28:02-04

Avian Influenza has caused a number of wild bird die offs in Idaho, but Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials say infections will "run its course" and urge people to leave sick-looking birds alone.

IDFG officials urge people who see birds that appear sick to leave them alone and not bring them in as wildlife rehabilitation centers are not accepting wild birds. There is no treatment or vaccine for the bird flu so moving sick birds could continue to spread it, according to a news release from IDFG.

"We are aware sick and dead birds are being seen by the public in many ponds, irrigation ditches, etc., especially in the Treasure Valley, and we do not know how long this avian influenza outbreak will last,” Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health Program Coordinator Stacey Dauwalter said in a statement. "Infected geese, ducks and other birds will continue to be found until the outbreak has abated."

Bird flu was first detected in Idaho in April in two chicken flocks in Gooding and Caribou Counties.

Dead birds can be disposed of in a double bag and placed in a trash can as long as the person picking them up is wearing gloves and a mask, according to IDFG. Any dead birds should be reported online to help with Avian Flu surveillance efforts.

Domestic birds are highly susceptible to showing symptoms and dying of infection, according to IDFG. The infection transfers between birds through close contact, fecal matter and can also be carried on items including tools, vehicles clothes and boots. Bird flu does not typically infect humans but human infections can occur, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, lethargy, conjunctivitis, aches, cough and diarrhea.

Anyone with concerns about commercial or backyard poultry is encouraged to contact the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.