Pa. reminds bird hunters of avian flu precautions

Sentinel Staff

With 30 Canada geese recently found sick or dead due to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Lackawanna County, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is reminding bird hunters that the avian flu outbreak continues.

The commission is urging the public to continue reporting deaths of wild birds, and for hunters who handle wild birds to continue taking precautions.

Such precautions include hunting only healthy-looking wild birds, wearing gloves while handling wild birds, washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, dressing killed birds in the field, changing clothing as needed, changing clothing and footwear before coming in contact with pet birds or domestic poultry and washing all equipment with soap and water, then disinfecting it with 10% household bleach solution.

The commission said avian flu can infect humans, though only one human case has been reported in the United States since the outbreak.

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The commission has been working with Wildlife Futures Program and the US Department of Agriculture since January to test wild birds and have so far detected avian flu in 47 birds. The disease is presumed to be spread statewide and has likely been responsible for the deaths of thousands of wild birds in Pennsylvania. The disease also infected 17 commercial poultry flocks and one backyard flock, leading to more than 4.2 million birds being killed.

Any sick or dead domestic bird should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852. Sick or dead wild birds should be reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 833-742-9453 or online using the Wildlife Health Survey tool at www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.

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