The Idaho State Department of Agriculture confirmed Wednesday a case of avian flu virus in a backyard flock of domestic chickens and ducks in Twin Falls County. This is the first confirmed case of the highly pathogenic disease in Idaho in domestic poultry since May.

The fatal disease was detected in domestic flocks in Idaho and Washington this spring. Agriculture departments have strongly recommended poultry owners to reinforce biosecurity measures for their flocks and prevent wild waterfowl from interacting with their domestic birds.

The Washington State Veterinarian has recommended suspending all poultry exhibitions, fairs, shows and sales this year because of the ongoing outbreak of the highly pathogenic disease. The Nez Perce County Fair held a clinic Sept. 6 to test birds for the disease before they can be entered into next week’s showing.

Judy Floch, 4-H coordinator for the Nez Perce County extension office, said if birds do not have the leg band certifying their health, they will not be allowed into the fairgrounds.

The Idaho agriculture department also said Wednesday that public venues where domestic poultry may come into contact with infected birds, such as livestock exhibits or bird auctions, should be avoided. In April, the department confirmed a public bird auction as the common source of the avian flu virus for several backyard flocks.

Domestic birds and poultry are susceptible to sickness and death once infected. Avian flu is transmitted between birds through close contact, fecal matter and sometimes as an aerosol. It is often carried on objects such as tools, vehicles, clothes and boots that can transfer the virus from one location to another.

It is uncommon for humans to become infected, but symptoms may include conjunctivitis, fever, lethargy, aches, coughing or diarrhea. Being in direct contact with domestic birds is the highest-risk activity. When federal guidelines for cooking are followed, avian flu is not a foodborne illness.