After fourth case of bird flu in Deschutes County, what birds will be at the fair this year?
(Update: Adding video, comments from ODA, Deschutes County 4-H)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bird flu cases are increasing in Deschutes County, and a quarantine area has grown to Redmond. With the Deschutes County Fair approaching, that means some birds won't be shown at the fair this year.
A fourth case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed in the Bend area Thursday by state and federal officials, resulting in expanding a quarantine area north to include part of Redmond. And that poses questions for some kids and families who show birds at the Deschutes County Fair.
The latest case in the Bend area expands the current quarantine area by another seven miles. It now includes the south half of Redmond, including the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center. The Deschutes County Fair begins on August 3rd and the expanded quarantine will change what type of birds are allowed.
It means a change for those who share and sell birds through 4-H.
Candi Bothum, the state 4-H Animal Science coordinator, said Friday, "The plan is essentially no breeding birds. And in order for the youth side ... we're going to have stuffed birds, so they can do showmanship with the stuffed birds.
"We've got some other contests-- we're going to do knowledge kind of things about the birds, breed, identification and some of those things we'll do and allow the public to participate in those, just to keep the young people who are focused on poultry active."
The Oregon Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz,, and the Deschutes County 4-H is working together on a plan. The goal is to mitigate risks, and the hope is to have a plan by early next week to allow participants to bring market birds to be sold at the fair, but they won't be on exhibit for the public to see. Breeding birds will not be allowed at the fair this year.
"People who are attending the fair should be taking some precautions, if they have their own birds at home," Scholz said Friday. "There are quite a few wild waterfowl that do nest around the fairgrounds. Those are really the big risk right now-- those wild ducks and geese that are potentially carrying influenza. That can be brought back home on the bottom of your shoes, on your clothes, on your hands.
"So implementing some bio-security, if you're going to the fair and if you have birds at home-- that you're not tracking anything back home with you."