Bird flu cases confirmed in Riverside County

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — The first cases of birds with bird flu in Riverside County have been confirmed following lab tests, officials said Thursday, prompting warnings about how to prevent the deadly strain to spread among domestic and wild birds.

“Although we only have two positive cases so far, the disease is considered widespread in the Inland Empire, and more cases will likely emerge as testing continues,” the chief veterinarian said. of the Department of Animal Services, Dr. Sara Strongin.

According to the agency, severe Eurasian avian influenza, designated HPAI H5N1, has been identified in two sick geese in the Perris area. They were impounded by the Department of Animal Services last week and underwent tests which on Tuesday reflected their infections. The birds were not to survive.

Officials said Riverside County anticipated the arrival of bird flu, as the virus has appeared in waterfowl and other birds elsewhere in California since July.

The H5N1 strain reached US shores last winter after migrating from Europe.

According to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the risks of exposure to humans are low. However, people working in functions where bird handling is common, such as the poultry industry, have been urged to take the precautions provided by public health officials.

“Wild bird species most at risk of infection include swans, geese, diving ducks, gulls, terns, cranes, herons, shorebirds and birds that feed or feed of these species, such as eagles, hawks, hawks, corvids and vultures,” the CDFW said.

Domestic chickens and turkeys can also become infected, usually through exposure to saliva, feces, and respiratory droplets of viral wild game. Virus particles can also attach and detach themselves in feathers, shoes and vehicles, the CDFW said.

There was no mention of transmission of H5N1 through cooked poultry or turkey.

“If it is necessary to dispose of a dead bird, wear waterproof gloves or an inverted plastic bag to collect the remains in a plastic garbage bag,” according to the Department of Animal Services. “Then wash your hands with soap and water and change clothes before any contact with domestic poultry or pet birds.”

The CDFW has advised residents statewide to avoid providing watering holes or feeding pens where birds can congregate, eat and drink communally, which increases the risk of exposure.

“If recreating outdoors in areas with high concentrations of waterfowl and other waterfowl, please take care to wash clothing and disinfect footwear and equipment before traveling to other areas. or interact with domestic or companion birds,” the CDFW said.

Sick or dead poultry, domestic ducks and pet birds should be reported to the California Department of Food & Agriculture at 866-922-2473.

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