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Public Health Monitoring Nationwide Avian Flu Outbreak

Public Health Monitoring Nationwide Avian Flu Outbreak 600 117 COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
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May 17, 2024
Media Contact:

media@ph.lacounty.gov
(213) 288-8144

Public Health Monitoring Nationwide Avian Flu Outbreak

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is closely monitoring the ongoing multi-state outbreak of ­­H5N1 bird flu in wild birds, poultry, and U.S. dairy cows. Public Health monitors and tests symptomatic birds, pets, and wild mammals in LA County for H5N1 through our Public Health Laboratory.

In January 2024, one local case of avian flu was confirmed in a Western Gull found in Manhattan Beach. No illnesses were reported in residents who had contact with the gull. There are currently no known cases of H5N1 in California cows based on the limited testing being conducted by veterinarians. Testing of lactating dairy cattle is required when they are transported across state lines and the USDA is now providing financial support to dairies where cattle are positive for H5N1 influenza.

While the current risk of transmission to LA County residents is low, Public Health encourages resident to follow these best practices when around animals or when consuming animal products:

  • Do not eat raw milk, raw cheese, and undercooked meat products.
  • Avoid unprotected contact with sick or dead animals, or materials contaminated with bird feces. The virus can spread to other birds, pets or mammals by contact with infected feces or consumption of infected animals.
  • Avoid handling wild birds and observe them only from a distance. If you have to handle wild birds, even if they appear healthy, practice good hand hygiene and consider wearing a well-fitting mask. Some birds may carry the virus but appear to be healthy.
  • Report sick or dead birds to local animal control agency for potential collection and testing. Sick birds or animals may not have flu-like symptoms, but instead may be unable to fly, have seizures, have difficulty walking or be found dead.
  • Prevent wild birds from getting into areas housing pet birds or poultry. Also make sure wild birds cannot defecate down into areas holding pet birds or poultry.
  • Take down bird feeders and communal bird baths to reduce the risk of the virus spreading from bird-to-bird.
  • Residents should also keep pets away from sick and dead birds. There is some risk of the virus being transmitted to mammals such as dogs, cats, and wild mammals, especially if they eat infected, uncooked birds.
  • It is especially important that people who may have exposure to infected or potentially infected birds or other animals get a seasonal flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccination will not prevent infection with avian influenza viruses but can reduce the risk of getting sick with human and bird flu viruses at the same time.

For questions or to find a nearby clinic or doctor, residents can call the Public Health InfoLine at 833-540-0473. Open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit our websites:

Avian flu in animalspublichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/HPAI.htm

Avian flu in humans: ph.lacounty.gov/acd/diseases/h5n1.htm

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