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Public asked to report sick, dead birds

The public is encouraged to report sick or dead birds to help prevent the spread of avian flu.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recently has seen an uptick in reports of sick or dead birds in the eastern part of the state. Infected birds have been found in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and in Hampton Roads.

Numerous species of shorebirds and waterbirds have been reported, but grebes, sanderlings and gulls appear to be the most affected. Preliminary testing indicates that the likely cause is H5N1, or highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“Domestic poultry is highly susceptible to the current H5N1 strain of avian flu,” noted Tony Banks, senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Wild bird monitoring for avian influenza by USDA and state wildlife agencies provides an early warning system for the introduction and distribution of these viruses. This allows animal health officials and the poultry ind...

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