The U.S. bird flu epidemic looks to have found its way to Arizona, as The Department of Agriculture announced it is investigating the state's first potential cases of avian influenza on Friday.
13 quail and chickens and approximately 40 quail and partridge eggs were shipped from hard-hit Iowa, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
First detected in April, the disease has affected more than 30.7 million birds thus far. According to the Department of Agriculture birds at the Iowa farm became ill a short time after the Arizona-bound shipment left the facility.
Initial test results were positive for H5N2 avian influenza.
The Iowa birds and eggs ended up at properties in Pinal, Mohave, Santa Cruz and Yavapai counties, which are all now under quarantine. While the birds will be tested, results will likely take up to six months to confirm.
"Bird enthusiasts and breeders who are shopping on the Internet need to take care when ordering," state veterinarian Dr. Perry Durham said. "These birds and eggs came from a state where Avian Influenza is rampant, responsible for the loss of millions of turkeys and hens.
If you are importing birds or eggs into the state, check the list of states with Avian Influenza and do not bring birds or eggs from them to protect your flock and others."
The infected farm in Iowa shipped birds and eggs to almost 75 percent of the country in the weeks before the positive test. This means bird flu could appear all over the country in the coming weeks.
The disease is highly contagious, affecting chickens, ducks, pheasants, turkeys, geese, quail and many wild birds.
Contact with infected birds, contaminated equipment, and even droplets bodily fluids can spread the virus.
"No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time, however similar viruses have infected people in other countries and caused serious illness and death in some cases," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.