There have been no cases of the avian flu reported in North Dakota — yet.

But a state agriculture official says bird owners and farmers must look for troubling signs in their birds.

State Veterinarian Dr. Ethan Andress said it is only a matter of time before migratory birds bring the avian influenza virus to the state.

Infected birds spread the virus to other birds through contact.

Sick birds will show several signs including poor appetite, coughing and sneezing but the key symptom is when the bird reduces its water consumption.

“It’s best to try to keep their exposure limited so you can reduce the chances of the wild birds coming into contact with your pet birds or your backyard birds or if you’re raising chickens,” said Dr. Andress.

“If you see dead birds in your community that are acting abnormal and it’s something that’s out of the ordinary then you might want to report that to our office.”

The bird flu virus does not pose any risk to human health but Dr. Andress advises limiting contact with sick birds.