LOGAN, Utah (AP) - A salmonella outbreak linked to the deaths of hundreds of songbirds has come to Utah and officials are asking people to immediately remove or clean their bird feeders.
The outbreak has affected multiple states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and North Carolina, the Herald Journal reported.
Infected birds have been found from Salt Lake all the way up to Cache Valley, said DaLyn Marthaler, the founder and executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden.
Unseasonable warm winter weather is likely one of the factors contributing to the outbreak, said Adam Brewerton, a wildlife conservation biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Salmonella is spread through contaminated feces. Symptoms include ruffled feathers, rapid breathing, lethargy and weakness. Experts say people cleaning their filters should use gloves, clean it thoroughly with soap and water and disinfect it with 10% bleach solution by soaking it for at least 30 minutes.
Biologists are also asking people to keep cleaning their feeders at least weekly for now.
Anyone who finds more than five sick or dead birds in their yard is being asked to contact the nearest state wildlife office for testing.