EVERETT, Wash. — People with small backyard flocks including those who raise chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and other fowl can play an important role in protecting the state’s commercial poultry industry. Mike Hackett, Washington State University Snohomish County Extension educator, says strict sanitation measures are critical to preventing an outbreak of avian influenza.

Pointing to the British Columbia provincial government’s emergency destruction of some 19 million birds, Hackett says that vigilance is critical for this state’s poultry growers. One quarantined British Columbia farm is within 10 miles of the U.S. border, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that avian flu has been detected in Canada within 600 yards of the border. USDA officials are now visiting farms and rural homes in Whatcom County looking for signs of the disease.

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