Oregon issues bird flu alert to chicken owners and farmers

Backyard enthusiasts need to be aware of the potential bird flu threat to flocks. (Les Zaitz/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

A highly infectious and deadly strain of bird flu has been detected in a bald eagle in British Columbia, posing a potential threat to hundreds and perhaps thousands of backyard flocks across Oregon as well as large commercial operations with millions of birds.

The strain is the same one that caused an outbreak in late 2014 and early 2015, forcing the destruction of millions of birds.

The virus poses little risk to humans. Infections in people are rare and are associated with close, prolonged and unprotected contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces.

But chickens, in particular, are highly susceptible to infection.

“It’s worrisome for backyard flocks,” said Kurt Williams, director . . .