Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals
Chickens, deer ducks, geese, geese and wild birds in Southern California are the latest to be hit by an aggressive type of bird flu. The disease, known as H5N6 (as opposed to H5N1) is a new threat to poultry, wild birds and livestock.
It’s not just chickens, ducks, geese, geese and wild birds in Southern California who may be infected. There are currently two confirmed H5N6 cases in a wild bird with a history of poultry contact, according to a report released this week by the California Department of Public Health.
In the latest report, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said they have confirmed that seven wild birds in four counties in Southern California tested positive for H5N6 virus as of April 21. The report comes about 10 days after bird flu was detected in California’s first case of a “human to human” transmission.
The new report describes how four wild birds in Los Angeles County were found to be positive for H5N6 on April 17. Eight hours later at least two other wild birds were found with positive H5N6. A fifth bird was not tested for H5N6.
“We were not able to identify the specific location where these infected birds were found,” the report said.
The virus in the wild birds was found only in the nasal mucous membranes of the five birds — all located on the same field in Ventura County (south of Oxnard).
In a press release, the California Department of Public Health said the first human to human transmission of H5N6 was documented April 6 at Santa Ana Hospital. The three people involved all had direct contact with a sick bird and were placed immediately in isolation.
The first confirmed transmission occurred April 11 at a bird and human interaction in Glendale, a Santa Ana Hospital spokesman confirmed.
The H5N6 virus can cause severe flu-like illness in birds, according to the release.
“The potential for transmission of the H5N6 virus to humans is very real. H5N6 can also cause severe disease in poultry and other chickens and wild birds. Transmission to people may result in severe disease, death, or a number of other