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Officials: Bird flu reported at state fair

Officials add that raw milk had Salmonella

— The Yakima County Health District issued two warnings this past weekend related to poultry and dairy products.

Two flocks of birds that were exhibited at the Central Washington State Fair tested positive for avian influenza — commonly called “bird flu” — Sept. 28.

The agency is also calling on people not to drink raw milk that it said tested positive for salmonella.

The Yakima County Health District made the announcements Saturday.

It also said not to be overly concerned.

The testing was done by the state Department of Health.

According to the Health District, the strain of bird flu found has an “extremely low potential” for causing serious problems for humans.

“In recent avian influenza outbreaks among U.S. poultry, no human infections were identified,” Director of Public Health Partnerships Lilian Bravo said.

If you were to get sick from bird flu, you would experience coughing, fever, body aches, weakness and fatigue up to 10 days after the fair.

“If you attended the Central Washington State Fair, there is no cause for alarm,” Bravo said. “The risk of this type avian influenza is extremely low.”

Bird flu primarily affects aquatic water fowl, but can be spread to domesticated birds like chickens and turkeys, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Poultry infection may cause mild illnesses and become evident in ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production, center officials say.

In some strains, bird flu with the HPAI virus can kill poultry, officials said, noting it can spread rapidly.

Bird flue can have an impact on the poultry industry and lead to restrictions on trade.

If the virus spreads, agriculture officials will monitor, and sometimes cull infected flocks.

In addition to the bird flu issue, Yakima Health District officials are advising people not to drink raw milk produced at Pride and Joy Dairy in Granger.

“Lab results confirmed the Salmonella strain for Pride and Joy Dairy organic milk matches the strain that hospitalized two people in January,” Bravo said.

Bravo said unpasteurized raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses are possible from many different foods, but raw milk is one of the riskiest, she said.

Bravo said health officials have contacted retailers of Pride and Joy Milk, and all Pride and Joy Milk products have been removed from shelves.

According to Bravo, the unique strain identified in the illnesses and the recent dairy sample, Salmonella Dublin, has previously been found among cattle and cattle products, including beef and raw dairy.

“If you have consumed these products and are experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, stomach cramping and vomiting, call your healthcare provider,” Health District Director of Disease Control Melissa Sixberry, RN, said.

Allen and Cheryl Voortman, owners of Pride and Joy Dairy could not be reached for comment Sunday. Recently they said they disagree with findings and would not voluntarily suspend operations. They said those two illnesses have never been tied to their products.

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