First bird flu cases in wildfowl reported in Los Angeles County this year
Hawks Nest, California: The first wildfowl cases confirmed in Los Angeles County in the 2013-14 year have been identified in two counties this week.
So far there have been six cases of the H5N6 influenza virus and two cases of H7N9 avian influenza in wildfowl in the region’s 14 counties. All the infected birds died within a few weeks from a combination of high mortality, as well as viral infections spreading among them and their handlers, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A single case in California’s Plumas County was confirmed on July 19. Then, two cases were reported in San Bernardino County on July 25 and 30.
So far, there are no cases nor deaths reported in the Santa Clarita Valley. Officials still don’t know if the virus jumped from birds to humans and if there is any correlation between the avian influenza infection in humans and the infection in the birds.
Officials are asking for the public’s help in the investigation.
The National Parks Service said it is working with state and federal authorities to determine how the virus made its way into the wildfowl population in the Pacific coast region. Officials found multiple dead birds there.
“We continue to investigate how the H5N6 virus made its way to the wildfowl population of California,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “We continue to collaborate with state and federal officials to try to figure out how this happened and what, if any, lessons we can learn from it.”
Jarvis said that until the investigation is complete, he won’t be releasing any information regarding the case that has been investigated.
“This virus has an element of human-to-human transmission, so we don’t want to release any information regarding that until we know the extent of that,” he said.
State officials confirmed the first case of wildfowl infection this year was found on the coast near Los Angeles on June 8. The California Department of Food and Agriculture reported that the bird was found with necrotic, dark lesions on its chest and died on June 9 after being treated at a mammal hospital in Santa Monica.
The birds are believed to have been infected with the H5N6 avian flu virus, which is also known as the Asian flu.
It is the same virus that has been reported from Asia in