Dangerous Bird Flue Making Geese Sick Near Tri-Cities-Don’t Touch
Warning From The WDFW
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reports a couple of goslings (young geese) from the Children’s Fishing Pond in Columbia Park near Kennewick are believed to be carrying avian influenza H5N1 virus. The WDFW is awaiting results from a federal laboratory before positively confirming these birds have avian influenza. In the meantime, other goslings at this park have shown symptoms of the disease as well.
The WDFW says this strain of influenza is highly contagious among birds and there is no treatment and little that can be done for infected birds. Officials say that over the weekend, they received many reports of sick goslings at the Columbia Park pond and calls from people trying to capture and treat the sick birds. That is well-intended but a VERY BAD idea.
More Harm Than Help
The Fish & Wildlife's guidance is that members of the public do NOT touch sick wildlife, but instead report it to WDFW’s online reporting tool. Any attempt to corral a bird and take it to a new location will likely only result in spreading the virus to a new location...so don't!
Columbia Park Pond is a small pond located near the Kennewick end of the Highway US-395 Bridge and the Columbia Park boat ramp. It is open only to juveniles 14 years of age and younger and holders of disability licenses.
Rainbow trout are planted in late February, spring break, and early May which means kids will likely be there to catch them there and since the geese are there too, there is the potential problem of people catching the bird flu.
Rare But Possible To Catch Bird Flu
Officials say the risk for human illness from HPAI H5N1 is very low, but it's always best to refrain from touching any animal that is obviously ill. The sad but best course of action is to let nature take its course and alert WDFW.
People who have had contact with sick birds are advised to check with their local health district as a precaution.
The Better Health website describes the symptoms of bird flu as similar to those of regular influenza and include:
- sore throat
- aching muscles.
Better safe than sorry. Mother Nature can seem cruel, but she has her ways, most often best left without interference from man. (or woman!)