First bird flu cases in wildfowl reported in Los Angeles County this year
PublishedSunday, April 9, 2014
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported two human cases of bird flu earlier this month.
According to the report, two children, ages 5 and 14, became ill with Bird flu while on vacation at Disneyland in Anaheim. Both children had been to the theme park that is home to several species of birds in the wild, including hawks, eagles and hummingbirds.
As part of its investigation of the outbreak, the public health department collected specimens from wild birds that were found at the theme park. Those specimens have now been sent to the National Institutes of Health for further testing.
The first bird flu victim, a 5-year-old girl from Pasadena, tested positive for antibodies to H5N1 bird flu virus. The girl later recovered, but remains under treatment for viral pneumonia.
She has not shown any signs of a secondary infection which would require extra antibiotic treatment.
The second human case involves a 14-year-old girl from Los Angeles. She’s currently under investigation for unexplained fever and respiratory issues.
The report also detailed the first confirmed case of H5N6 avian influenza in the county in 11 years and the first confirmed case of H5N8 avian influenza in a wild bird.
The two human cases were the first in the county since the outbreak of H5N1 in 1996, according to the report.
The findings are part of a four-month investigation involving researchers and public health agencies that’s focused on protecting public health as well as protecting the natural resources the county relies on.
As part of that investigation, the county and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are working on a plan to limit the spread of bird flu to public lands.
The birds in question were found during routine aerial inspections by California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.
The birds in the report were identified as a variety of species. While some were identified as species, others were likely non-native resident species or feral, non-native birds.
The findings will be shared during a series of public meetings in the fall.
The virus is also found in many wild birds in the U.S. including birds in California, Washington, Colorado