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Posted on: June 9, 2022

Caution: Do not touch sick or dead birds

a sparrow

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are asking the public to avoid contact with wild birds, especially sick or dead wild birds or their young. An outbreak of avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is impacting wild birds. State officials are asking people who encounter sick or dead wild birds to alert WDFW using the agency’s reporting tool.

While avian influenza infections among people are rare, human infections can happen when the virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled. People may be at greater risk of bird flu virus infection during close or lengthy unprotected contact (not wearing respiratory protection or eye protection) with infected birds or surfaces contaminated with the mucous, saliva, or feces of infected birds. As a reminder, chicken, eggs and other poultry and poultry products are safe to eat when properly handled and cooked. 

If you develop flu-like symptoms within 10 days of contact with ill or dead wild birds, you should contact Snohomish Health District and alert your healthcare provider to your recent contact with wild birds.

For more information, see the full press release from DOH here:

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