Bird flu spreading in Utah, detected in 5 more counties, officials say

10 wild birds in Utah have contracted the disease so far.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Canada geese are seen at Sugar House Park pond on Monday, July 19, 2021. Avian flu has recently been detected in at least 10 birds in Utah, including a Canada goose.

Avian flu has spread to birds in five more Utah counties, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced Thursday.

The disease killed an owl in Cache County last month, which was confirmed on May 11 through testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

The virus has now been detected in nine more birds from Utah, Weber, Salt Lake, Tooele and Carbon counties. The birds included Canada geese, great horned owls, hawks, pelicans, turkey vultures and ducks.

Three of the birds were found on the shore of Scofield Reservoir in Carbon County, but the Department of Environmental Quality confirmed the drinking water from the Reservoir would not be impacted due to its treatment. Normal activities on the reservoir will also not be impacted.

Avian flu can be passed to humans in some cases, and one person in Colorado tested positive for the virus in late April after direct exposure to poultry. But risk to the public with this particular strain is low, officials said.

Officials said test results from other dead birds are pending. Individuals should avoid any groups of dead waterfowl or shorebirds and call 801-538-4700 to report them to the DWR, who will collect them for testing.