Optimistic take a look at on black swan means avian flu has arrived in San Diego County


A lifeless black swan found at Lake San Marcos has examined optimistic for avian flu, the primary case to be present in San Diego County, officers mentioned.

Wildlife and agriculture officers have been carefully monitoring the extremely infectious virus because it was first detected greater than 10 months in the past in wild birds in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The swan was examined after it was submitted by a “personal occasion” to the California Animal Well being and Meals Security Laboratory in San Bernardino, in line with Steve Lyle, a spokesperson for the California Division of Meals and Agriculture. He mentioned take a look at samples have been then submitted to a department of the identical laboratory in Davis and “have been confirmed optimistic for avian flu.”

The pattern additionally has been shipped to the USDA’s Nationwide Veterinary Providers Laboratories in Ames, Iowa for affirmation. It’s going to endure genetic sequencing to pinpoint the pressure of the virus concerned.

Extremely pathogenic avian influenza could be transferred chook to chook by way of bodily fluids comparable to respiratory droplets and feces. It impacts the birds’ respiratory and neurological programs, though some contaminated birds present no signal of sickness. Consultants say wild birds have been carrying the illness to new areas as they migrate.

Officers report uncommon instances of people being contaminated by chook flu and say the danger to most people’s well being is believed to be low.

At Lake San Marcos, residents started seeing sick and dying birds across the 88-acre physique of water greater than per week in the past. Greg Thomas, a resident and volunteer with the Lake San Marcos wildlife and waterfowl rescue group, mentioned he despatched within the lifeless swan that examined optimistic for chook flu.

Thomas mentioned many of the lifeless and dying birds on the lake have been discovered over a three-day interval. “The 72 hours of insanity began on (Oct. 12); I shipped that chook off (to be examined) on the thirteenth,” he mentioned.

Now that avian flu has been confirmed within the space, Thomas mentioned individuals who frequent Lake San Marcos are being requested to not feed the birds and to shoo away migratory waterfowl that come close to the “resident” wild birds. “I don’t need them infecting our birds,” he mentioned.

By his depend, about 15 black swans have died, together with pelicans and different birds. Earlier than the optimistic take a look at got here again, some residents questioned if pesticides sprayed onto a grassy space close to the water could have sickened among the birds or left their immune programs compromised.

On a hopeful word, Thomas mentioned a goose that was very in poor health earlier this week seems to be recovering.

Quite a few birds stay at Lake San Marcos, an 88-acre reservoir in North County with lakefront houses.

(Courtesy of Greg Thomas)

In latest months, the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld San Diego took precautions to attempt to shield birds of their collections from the avian flu. Lots of of birds have been moved indoors or to netted out of doors habitats to attempt to reduce the publicity danger.

Final week, a pelican that died at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium examined optimistic for avian influenza, and a second chook was euthanized after it turned in poor health. As a precaution, that zoo mentioned it will shut one in all its aviaries to the general public for at the least 10 days. A spokesperson mentioned no different birds within the zoo’s assortment have proven signs of chook flu.

Home poultry are significantly vulnerable to the virus, and greater than 47 million chickens and turkeys in business and yard flocks the U.S. have been slaughtered in 42 states to attempt to halt the unfold, in line with the U.S. Division of Agriculture. Regulators order complete flocks to be killed when a case of the virus is discovered.

Infections in flocks have triggered export restrictions on U.S. poultry and led to increased costs at grocery shops for eggs and meat.

Renee Brandt, who owns Yard Chickies in Alpine and provides birds to consumers in 5 Southern California counties, mentioned she’s taken a number of “biosecurity” steps to reduce wild chook interactions.

“All of our coops are lined and the partitions are {hardware} material,” Brandt mentioned. “The entire meals… is within the coop and never exterior of their run. That enormously minimizes interplay with wild birds.”

Brandt mentioned the farm maintains separate clothes and footwear and even a separate car for use within the hen space. Brandt mentioned she is “sanitizing continuously.”

Earlier this month, SeaWorld San Diego halted its chook rescue program after chook flu was found in Orange County. That’s left the San Diego Humane Society’s Venture Wildlife responding to rescue calls within the area.

Venture Wildlife has heard of just one “high-volume mortality occasion” in San Diego County suspected to be chook flu, the deaths at Lake San Marcos, senior director Jon Enyart mentioned.

Anybody who finds sick or dying birds is requested to report them to a state avian well being hotline at (866) 922-BIRD (2473). Enyart mentioned folks ought to wash their arms and alter garments after touching sick or injured birds.

Related Press contributed to this report.

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