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Posted on: November 28, 2023

Update on Bird Flu Exposure at Lake Tye

Cackling Geese

1/3/24 Bird Flu Update: While the city has not received any recent cases of bird flu, WDFW has recommended keeping the on-site notifications and postings in place until the end of winter. WDFW is still detecting bird flu cases in other areas of Snohomish County that have a probability of spreading to our area.

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12/13/23 Bird Flu Update: The last potential case of bird flu was reported on November 27, and it appears the outbreak at Lake Tye has passed. However, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recommends keeping the warnings in place through the winter due to outbreaks in other areas of Snohomish County and the potential of infected birds migrating to Lake Tye area.  Any questions call WDFW at (360) 902-2200.

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11/28/23 Bird Flu Update: After consulting with the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the City of Monroe is continuing the bird flu notice at Lake Tye. Despite a dramatic decrease in mortality the week of November 20th, WDFW is still receiving reports of occasional sick or deceased birds. Even though the outbreak appears to be tapering off, the City will continue the bird flu notice at Lake Tye.

Currently there is no estimated date to remove the bird flu notices. Based on past WDFW experience, these events typically last 2-4 weeks and the event at Lake Tye is entering its 4th week. However, the City of Monroe is located along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route, and there is the potential for new cases emerging during this time.

The City will continue to coordinate with WDFW and the WA State Dept. of Health until the outbreak has passed and we will continue to keep our community updated until it has passed. For additional information please see the WDFW website, or check out the KOMO news story regarding this event.

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Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) is continuing to monitor the situation at Lake Tye and is removing both sick and deceased geese from the park. 

Report of Cackling Geese bird flu exposure at Lake Tye Park. Sunday, November 5 the City of Monroe received a report from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) that several Cackling Geese from a flock that have landed at Lake Tye Park are exhibiting symptoms of bird flu. WDFW staff have removed both sick and deceased geese from the park and will monitor the park for further removals. WDFW does not advise any park closure, but will post signage at the park and advise that the information below from the Washington State Department of Health be shared with the public. The City of Monroe will provide further updates as we receive them. 

The Washington State Department of Health has extensive information on avian influenza on its' website. https://doh.wa.gov/avian-influenza 

Bird flu viruses are not easily transmissible from birds to people, but without proper hygiene, or if in prolonged contact with a sick bird, the risk increases and the virus can potentially evolve to spread between humans. While it is extremely unlikely that hunters or people feeding wild birds could contract bird flu, the following common-sense precautions are recommended to reduce the risk of contracting any wildlife disease: 

  • • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning harvested birds or cleaning bird feeders. 
  • • Do not dispose of processed carcasses in the field where they could be eaten by raptors. Bag them and place in the garbage, bury, or incinerate them. 
  • • Take special precautions to ensure that all equipment (boots, clothes, vehicles, firearms) are cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of diseases. 
  • • Do not harvest or handle wild birds that are obviously sick or found dead. 
  • • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game. 
  • • Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol wipes immediately after handling game or cleaning bird feeders. 
  • • Wash tools and work surfaces used to clean game birds with soap and water, then disinfect with a 10 percent solution of chlorine bleach. 
  • • Separate raw meat, and anything it touches, from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination. 
  • • Cook game birds thoroughly. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites. 

If you experience flu-like symptoms following contact with birds, local health department. They can provide public health guidance and initiate symptom monitoring. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting a seasonal flu vaccine every year. 

This will decrease the likelihood of being infected with human seasonal flu and bird flu at the same time. Additional animal and human health and safety information regarding avian influenza is on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website.

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