The San Diego Humane Society has taken bird flu precautions as the bird-borne disease spreads across the United States and southern California, it was announced Monday.
Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is spreading in domestic poultry and wild birds and has now been confirmed in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The disease poses little risk to humans, but is highly contagious among susceptible bird species.
HPAI H5N1 has not yet been confirmed in San Diego County, but the San Diego Humane Society has biosecurity procedures in place.
“We want the community to be aware of this highly contagious bird flu because we need to make significant changes to our admissions process to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals in our care,” said Dr. Jon Enyart, Senior Director of SDHS. of the Wildlife Project. “We have now implemented strict biosecurity for Project Wildlife facilities and are limiting the admission of wild birds, as well as access to authorized personnel only. We are also changing our process for admitting domestic birds to sanctuaries. for Animals of the San Diego Humane Society.”
The Project Wildlife program is the premier resource for wildlife rehabilitation in San Diego County. According to SDHS, the only way the program can stay open without spreading the virus to other animals is to keep susceptible species out of its buildings. HPAI H5N1 is primarily a disease of poultry and can cause significant mortality in backyard and commercial flocks. In wild birds, infection can cause mild to severe illness and depends in part on the species infected.
A jaguar who was trafficked before being dumped in the middle of the night at the Alpine Animal Sanctuary, Lions, Tigers and Bears, is now just over a year old and thriving.
The Humane Society has offered some tips the public can use to help prevent the spread of the disease:
- If you find an unharmed young bird, try to re-nest it and reunite it with its parents rather than bringing it to Project Wildlife. If an HPAI-susceptible bird shows signs of illness, the San Diego Humane Society will perform humane euthanasia upon arrival and submit the bird to the UC Davis Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in California for tests ;
- Do not feed or provide water to wild birds, especially if backyard poultry or other captive birds are present, such as chickens, turkeys, peacocks, ducks, geese, pigeons or doves. Transmission can occur among birds by drinking contaminated water;
- Try to rehouse healthy indoor pet birds rather than bringing them into shelter. If you must abandon your pet bird, the San Diego Humane Society offers rehoming tools that allow you to find a new home for the bird and place it directly into its new family. In the meantime, pet birds should be prevented from interacting with new birds and should not be exposed outdoors;
- If you engage in outdoor activities in areas where waterfowl and other waterfowl live, wash clothing and disinfect shoes and equipment before traveling to other areas or interacting with domestic or companion birds;
- Do not handle sick or dead wild animals. If it is necessary to do so, it is recommended to wear waterproof gloves and use an overturned plastic bag, shovel or other tool. Then, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and change clothes before any contact with domestic or pet birds. and
- The public can report dead wild birds using the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Mortality Reporting Form and sick and dead poultry can be reported to the CDFA hotline at (866) 922-2473.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston rescued a kitten with a glass bowl stuck to her head.
Signs of bird flu include sudden death and increased mortality in a flock, neurological signs such as head and neck tremors, inability to stand or paralysis, poor appetite, lethargy and diarrhea , difficulty breathing, sneezing, runny nose and cough, swelling of the head, eyelids, neck and hocks and purple discoloration of the legs.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the health risk to the general public from current avian influenza viruses is low.