The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed that a bobcat from northeast Washington tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus H5N1 220.127.116.11 strain last month.
This marks the fourth mammal in Washington State to test positive for HPAI since July of 2022. Three raccoons (one on Camano Island, one in Spokane County and one in the Tri Cities area) tested positive in 2022.
Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect poultry and other bird and animal species. Wild aquatic birds include ducks, geese, swans, gulls and terns, and shorebirds.
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Avian influenza A viruses are very contagious among birds through saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and contaminated surfaces. These viruses are classified into two categories: low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). LPAI viruses cause either no signs of disease or mild disease in chickens/poultry (such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production). HPAI can be transmitted to domestic birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkey and generally leads to death for these birds.
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