Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals

MENLO PARK — 

After proliferating globally, a historic wave of avian flu has entered Southern California, where it is worrying farmers and bird -overs and could add to complications with supply chains and food prices.

Already, poultry operations have had to euthanize domestic flocks of chickens and turkeys, while thousands of wild birds have also died. Wildlife experts say they are seeing a wave of dying birds moving south — already as far as Irvine — as the fall migration sets in.

Authorities describe the surge as “unprecedented” in scope, breadth and lethality.

In North America alone, an estimated 50 million birds have succumbed, which experts say is probably a vast undercount. And though government officials are primarily concerned about poultry farms, the epidemic has struck wild birds, too — from waterfowl to raptors and vultures.

In late August, one New Jersey park had to close its trails to hikers. There were too many dead vultures on the ground.

Elsewhere, other animals are getting infected and dying. In Maine, an elevated number of gray and harbor seal deaths have been attributed to the disease, while in Florida, officials believe a bottle-nosed dolphin succumbed to the virus. It’s also been detected in skunks and foxes.

Humans are not thought to be at risk for infection, but the fact the flu has spread to some mammals concerns some experts, given that humans are mammals.

For now, domesticated and wild birds are the focus of attention.

“Unfortunately, we’re really just at the beginning” of this highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak, said Maurice Pitesky, a UC Davis Cooperative Extension associate professor in the Poultry Health and Food Safety Epidemiology Department in the School of Veterinary Medicine. He noted that millions of birds are just beginning their southward migration from summer feeding grounds in the Arctic — a place where they’ve been mingling and communing all summer with species from across the globe.

“Some disease models show that we are going to get hammered this fall,” he said, adding it could add some real stresses to the food supply, which is already being clobbered by high corn and soy prices — the food required to keep the millions of chickens and turkeys in poultry farms alive.

“There’s a lot of virus in the environment,” he said. “In the Central Valley, we have 600,000 resident waterfowl. In a few months, that number will be 6 million.”

The outbreak — which researchers call by its initialism, HPAI — is relatively novel to this part of this world.

Throughout most of history, HPAI would appear only sporadically and locally, according to Bryan Richards, emerging disease coordinator with the United States Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center. When it did appear, it would fizzle out fast.

“It was a kind of one-and-done phenomenon,” he said. “It’d kill a lot of birds and then be gone.”

But in 1996, “the story changed,” Richards said. In China’s Guangdong province, the virus mutated “and it never went away.”

Then, in 2005, the disease spilled back to waterfowl — primarily bar-headed geese — from domestic poultry, causing substantial mortality among both wild and domestic birds.

“This was a really big deal,” Richards said.

And it persisted in the environment — although largely relegated to Asia.

But in 2014 and 2015, the disease appeared for the first time in North America. By the time it subsided, 40 million birds had died, causing an estimated $3 billion in damage.

Then in early 2021, it showed up in Europe, where both wild and domestic birds died en masse. That fall, it appeared in North America. Thousands of sea birds — gannets, puffins and murres — died along the Avalon Peninsula in Canada’s Newfoundland province.

Soon it spread down the East Coast of the United States and then began marching west across the continent.

In late August, it appeared in California. First in a poultry farm in Fresno, where all the birds were euthanized. Then in turkey flocks in Tuolomne and Sacramento counties. Since then, it has exploded across much of the state — the virus has been detected in domestic birds in seven counties. For wild birds, the count is at 19.

Rebecca Duerr, California-based veterinarian for International Bird Rescue, said wildlife refuge centers are now in the untenable position of having to turn away sick birds, lest they infect the other birds they are caring for.

She said testing is extremely expensive; there are no rapid antigen avian flu tests like there are for COVID-19.

She’s bracing for what the fall migration may bring and what the disease could do to endangered birds, such as the California condor.

“There are already so few of them,” she said. “A disease like this could be catastrophic.”

Colony birds are another concern, she said. Just as tens of thousands of murres and gannets were wiped out in Canada, wildlife officials fear such outbreaks along the Pacific.

Experts believe the disease is being spread by wild birds. And though commercial poultry farms have been following biosecurity measures for months now — spraying down trucks and workers before they enter and after they leave these facilities — they are calling on backyard birders to also take caution.

Deanna Lin, who owns four chickens in Menlo Park, was unaware of the outbreak as her four hens clucked and scratched across her yard last week.

bird flu spreads to southern california, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals
Deanna Lin cares for one of her backyard chickens at her home in Menlo Park, Calif.

She also feeds a murder of resident crows, who saved one of her hens from a hawk attack a few years ago.

Now she’s watching for signs of infection — both in her own flock and among the wild birds that visit her yard.

Signs of the disease include sudden death; respiratory distress; clear discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth; lethargy; disinterest in food or water; swelling of the eyes, head, wattles or combs; a discolored or bruised comb, wattle or legs; and stumbling or falling.

State officials are asking poultry owners with potentially exposed flocks — in which animals show signs of illness or sudden death — to call CDFA Sick Bird Hotline at (866) 922-BIRD (2473).

As Lin hand-fed her two new pullet chickens — Ygritte, a Cream Legbar, and Gretel, an Ameraucana — she shook her head, imagining what it could take to protect them from a disease that is passed from bird to bird by droppings and fomites (virus that gets carried on surfaces).

“That’s not going to be easy,” she said.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Winter Storm Warning issued in western Kitsap County

Winter Storm Warning issued in western Kitsap County Several inches of snow are expected in the region, especially in western Kitsap County, which is under a Winter Storm Warning until ... Read more »

Sayreville man arrested in Old Bridge parking lot homicide

OLD BRIDGE – A Sayreville man has been arrested in connection with the death of a 36-year-old Middletown man who was repeatedly run over with a vehicle earlier this week. ... Read more »

Man Pleads Guilty To Scamming Suffolk Homeowner Out Of $200K: DA

Nicholas Spano, 59, who is a transient, pleaded guilty to scamming a Huntington woman out of $200,000, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney announced Friday. SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — A ... Read more »

Caught on camera: Woman robbed at gunpoint during attempted carjacking in West Rogers Park

An attempted carjacking was caught on a neighbor’s home security camera as thieves forced a woman from her vehicle at gunpoint on Chicago’s North Side. The suspects weren’t able to ... Read more »

‘Disarray:’ Texas senators might halt ERCOT power grid redesign

The sun sets behind electricity towers along Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. A bipartisan group of Texas state senators wants the Public Utility Commission to ... Read more »

FBI Agent Found Not Guilty of Attempted Murder in Maryland Metro Shooting

Link video: http://nbclim-download.edgesuite.net/Prod/NBCU_LM_VMS_-_WRC/689/619/19900809665-1080pnbcstations.mp4 NBC Universal, Inc. A jury in Montgomery County, Maryland, found an FBI agent accused of attempted murder in a shooting on a Metro train not guilty of ... Read more »

Cramer's Lightning Round: Let Extreme Networks Cool Off a Little Before Buying

It’s that time again! “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer rings the lightning round bell, which means he’s giving his answers to callers’ stock questions at rapid speed. Paramount Group Inc: ... Read more »

FDA Announces Monoclonal Antibody Not Authorized Due to Inability to Fight Omicron

A year after the omicron variant of COVID-19 began to upend the world and start a new stage of the pandemic, several new subvariants have originated from the variant, with ... Read more »

2 seemed OK after car crashes, but died days later. Cops are trying to figure out why.

Authorities are investigating two recent crashes in which vehicle occupants suffered what appeared to be non-life threatening injures but died days later. It’s not clear if either death was related ... Read more »

New England Patriots Quarterback Mac Jones Apologizes For Sideline Outburst

© Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports New England Patriots’ quarterback Mac Jones took a page out of the book of his predecessor Tom Brady on Thursday. Just not the one Patriots ... Read more »

This Luxe $330,000 a Week Fiji Island Buyout Gives Whole New Meaning to the Words ‘All-Inclusive’

Outdoor deck Forget your typical tropical vacation. One luxe hotel in Fiju is now offering you and a few of your closest pals the chance to have an entire island ... Read more »

Unpopular Stretched Variant: Who Flies The Standard Boeing 737-900?

Unpopular Stretched Variant: Who Flies The Standard Boeing 737-900? Boeing Stock Code: BA Date Founded: 1916-07-15 CEO: Dave Calhoun Headquarters Location: Chicago, USA Key Product Lines: Boeing 737, Boeing 747, ... Read more »

Wayne Gretzky's Wife Was Once Involved In A Huge Sports Scandal

Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones posing When hockey fans think of the sport’s unforgettable legends, an array of athletes come to mind, including Sid Abel, Ray Bourque and Martin Brodeur. ... Read more »

Alaskan Bush People: Why Noah Is No Longer Living On Family Homestead

Alaskan Bush People: Why Noah Is No Longer Living On Family Homestead Alaskan Bush People fans have learned that Noah Brown is no longer living on the family homestead with ... Read more »

N.Y. Attorney General’s chief of staff resigns following sexual assault investigation

N.Y. Attorney General’s chief of staff resigns following sexual assault investigation The chief of staff to New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has resigned following an investigation into at ... Read more »

Amid rise in number of gender-confused children in Maryland schools, parents need a new bill of rights

Amid rise in number of gender-confused children in Maryland schools, parents need a new bill of rights If Maryland parents and lawmakers don’t act now, special-interest groups and radical gender ... Read more »

Woman Hears ‘Weird Shuffling’ Inside New Home And Is Shocked By Who She Finds

Woman Hears ‘Weird Shuffling’ Inside New Home And Is Shocked By Who She Finds When Katie Hoover started hearing strange noises coming from inside her new home, she initially thought ... Read more »

Cameroon fans celebrate after historic 1-0 victory over Brazil

They might not have made it through to the next stage of the World Cup tournament but Cameroon’s supporters departed Lusail Stadium in Qatar knowing their team had made history ... Read more »

Police: Woman stabbed multiple times by former partner

Police: Woman stabbed multiple times by former partner LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Thursday evening, the Colonie Police Department responded to a report of a violent domestic incident at 99 ... Read more »

Bernie Madoff’s lawyer has some advice for FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried: Shut up

The lawyer who represented Bernie Madoff has this advice for Sam Bankman-Fried: Shut up. Enough with this whole media apology tour, said Ira Sorkin, lead defense lawyer for Madoff, late ... Read more »

Merry Main Street

City of Frisco Kids from one to 92 will enjoy great holiday fun at the City of Frisco’s Merry Main Street. Join NBC 5’s Wayne Carter, NBC 5’s Bianca Castro ... Read more »

Russian oligarch who sponsored Khabib handed lengthy prison sentence

Russian oligarch who sponsored Khabib handed lengthy prison sentence The oligarch who once funded the career of former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been handed a lengthy prison sentence this ... Read more »

NY AG Letitia James' chief of staff resigns amid 2 sexual misconduct probes: report

NY Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the office of the Attorney General on September 21, 2022 in New York, New York. NEW YORK (1010 WINS) ... Read more »

Utter devastation in the Germany camp after World Cup elimination

Utter devastation in the Germany camp after World Cup elimination A second consecutive group stage exit at the Men’s World Cup has left Germany’s players stunned and heartbroken. “There was ... Read more »

Newt Gingrich praises Biden, warns GOP against underestimating president

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Biden. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Andrew Harnik/AP, Susan Walsh/AP) WASHINGTON — President Biden recently received praise — backhanded and qualified, but praise ... Read more »

Top NY attorney general aide resigns following inquiry into sexual harassment allegations

Top NY attorney general aide resigns following inquiry into sexual harassment allegations The chief of staff to New York Attorney General Letitia James resigned on Friday following a private investigation ... Read more »

Why You Should Rent Out Your RV And How To Do It

Over the past couple of years, the world of RVing has exploded. Not only that, the RV rental industry has grown enormously as well. More and more people are looking ... Read more »

Prosecutors claim to jurors that Trump knew of Weisselberg’s tax fraud

Prosecutors claim to jurors that Trump knew of Weisselberg’s tax fraud NEW YORK — Donald Trump knew about a 15-year tax fraud carried out by longtime executives at his namesake ... Read more »

Dodgers lose key reliever to Red Sox

Chris Martin has anew gig. The Los Angeles Dodgers are officially one reliever poorer. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Friday that veteran right-hander Chris Martin has agreed to sign ... Read more »

Jill Biden Holds Court in Botanical Lace Dress & Suede Pumps at White House State Dinner With Emmanuel & Brigitte Macron

President Biden Welcomes French President Macron To The White House Jill Biden and President Joe Biden welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron to the White House, ... Read more »

U.S. seeking 15-year sentence for former Theranos president Sunny Balwani

Elizabeth Holmes' top deputy was found guilty on 12 counts of fraud in June Read more »

US judge dismisses indictment against Huawei CFO that strained relations with China

A US District Judge dismissed Meng Wanzhou's indictment with prejudice Read more »

Jim Cramer Says These 3 Apparel Stocks Benefit From Return to Office

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday offered investors a list of clothing stocks that he believes will see upside as workers continue returning to the office. “After the huge run in ... Read more »

Chicago Police Warn of Recent String of Armed Robberies, Carjackings

One of the most recent incidents happened this week in the city's West Ridge neighborhood Read more »

RIP ‘Los Espookys,’ illicit lovechild of Pedro Almodovar and Scooby Doo

Occasionally there comes along a cultural artifact so peculiar that adequate vocabulary does not yet exist to describe it. That was certainly the case with HBO’s “Los Espookys,” a program ... Read more »

Twitter firings gutted its compliance teams. Now it risks investigations and big fines

The work of two key teams that Twitter relied on to comply with regulators abruptly stopped amid a rash of layoffs, resignations and firings, according to two people familiar with ... Read more »

Search for Missing Wise County 7- Year-Old Shifts More to Detective Work

NBCDFW.com On the third day of the search for 7-year-old Athena Strand, the Wise County Sheriff said detective work was a greater emphasis after a massive search of the area ... Read more »

League City burglary ring: 27 cases, 7 states and $500,000 in stolen property, LCPD says

The organized crime ring was the target of a four-month investigation and stole trucks, trailers, tools and four-wheelers from storage units, League City police say. Read more »

'Undemocratic': NZ's top law group urges Mahuta to drop 'constitutionally objectionable' Three Waters clause

The Law Society has labelled the entrenchment clause in the Three Waters legislation “constitutionally objectionable” and introduced in a way that is “undemocratic”. Newshub has obtained a letter sent to ... Read more »

Lucy Studey Stood Up By FBI For Polygraph In Suspected Iowa Killings Probe

Lucy Studey (center) together with cadaver dog handler Jim Peters and a Fremont County Sheriff’s deputy look into the scrub where the dogs are searching for possible human remains. For ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network