The avian flu has reached Scottsdale.
The disease was found in three cormorants in Eldorado Park, the first instance of it being found in Arizona.
The disease is not dangerous to humans.
“Currently, the transmission risk of avian influenza from infected birds to people remains low, but people should take basic protective measures (ie, wearing gloves and face masks, and hand washing) if contact with wild birds or domestic poultry cannot be avoided.” the Arizona Game and Fish Department said.
Nor is the disease a risk to dogs being walked at local parks, said Ann Justice-Allen, Arizona Game and Fish Department veterinarian.
At risk are wild birds and domestic flocks of chickens, turkeys and ducks. People with domestic flocks should take care to not let them interact with wild birds, Justice-Allan said.
If you own chickens or other domestic birds, you might want to avoid intentionally feeding wild birds or putting out feed for your flock that wild birds can readily access, she said, since such attracting practices wild birds and increase the risk of spreading the disease.
Many times, infected birds will not appear outwardly sick, but can still spread the disease.
Good hygiene at feeders is always appropriate, although there is little evidence of common backyard birds carrying avian influenza.
Generally, wild birds are resistant to avian influenza. However, the Eurasian H5N1 strain currently circulating in North America is different and has caused the death of large numbers of wild birds. Bald eagles, great horned owls, Canada geese, black vultures, waterfowl, and raptors have been among the affected species.
Over 37 million birds have been euthanized because of the disease, mostly in large poultry farms in the Midwest, Justice-Allen said.
People who observe birds with symptoms of the disease should report it immediately.
If you observe wild birds exhibiting symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, eye/nose discharge, lethargy, paralysis, or rapid decline and sudden death, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 602-942-3000, option 5 in order to report suspected disease.
Those who raise and keep poultry who notice a significant number of their flock – or feral poultry in their neighborhood – with similar symptoms, should contact the State Veterinary Office at 602-542-4293.
Typically, Justice-Allen said, the disease tends to “settle down” by late summer as birds either develop immunity or die off, she said.