State asks live poultry sales to end because of bird flu

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — With bird flu hitting nine flocks scattered across seven counties, the Washington state Department of Agriculture is requesting that live market poultry sales cease for the next 30 days. The closure is not mandatory, the agency said Thursday. Confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 have shown up in nine small backyard flocks in Thurston, Pierce, Pacific, Clallam, Spokane, Whatcom and Okanogan counties since May 5. Dr. Amber Itle, the Washington state veterinarian, says bird flu has been reported in 35 states this year and Washington is one of the last states to get hit. The agency says no commercial flocks have been infected and commercial poultry products remain safe to consume.