The Washington State Department of Health has made the Tribe aware of an outbreak of avian flu in Washington state, including among the wild birds on Rat Island near Fort Flagler State Park.

Dozens of Caspian terns have been observed sick or dying on Rat Island; dead gulls have also been observed. Testing of carcasses has resulted positive for avian influenza.

The Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is leading and monitoring the response; the report approximately a thousand sea birds on Rat Island, as well as harbor seal mothers and pups. There are concerns about disease spillover into the harbor seal population, exposure to local poultry, and potential exposures to humans who live or recreate in the area. In general, currently circulating strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the US poses a low risk to humans, but rare cases of human infection have been identified among those with direct infected bird contact.

The State has been coordinating with Jefferson County Public Health follow up with persons who may have been exposed to infected birds.

If you are going to be on Rat Island or Fort Flagler State Park, including during Canoe Journey, please review the linked document below for further information about avian flu and how you can keep yourself safe.

More information on Avian Flu, including how to keep yourself safe:

Avian Influenza Brief_January_2023