Bird Flu Incidents Increase in Western United States

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A flock of birds have tested positive for the highly contagious Avian Influenza virus, or Bird Flu. Bird-X reports on what this means for public health.

Goose, Geese, Canada goose, Canada geese
Avian Influenza infects humans through close contact with infected birds, such as touching feathers, droppings, & saliva.

On February 16, 2015, a flock of domestic birds in California reportedly tested positive for the bird flu virus, making it the second case found in California this season (Capital Press). The report came just days after Oregon reported its second case of the Bird Flu (Statesman Journal). With so much misinformation spread about possible human infection, many people are understandably concerned about the avian disease’s possible effect on public health. Bird-X, bird control experts, reports.

The infected Oregon flock totals about 90 domestic birds, while the California flock totals 114,000. As Bird-X explains on its Avian Influenza page, the virus occurs naturally in wild waterfowl such as migratory ducks and geese. It is readily passed from wild birds to domestic birds, and humans are only affected when they come into direct contact with the birds themselves.

The Bird-X page continues, “Avian Influenza infects humans through close contact with infected birds, such as touching feathers, droppings, & saliva. Since flu viruses evolve over time, the effects on humans are not fully understood.”

In cases where humans have been infected, the virus is almost always fatal – poultry workers and others that work directly with infected birds are the most common victims of the disease. The virus is not transmitted to humans via cooked meat or eggs, and the virus has not yet been known to pass between infected humans; only through direct contact with infected birds. The bird flu is reportedly fatal in over half of reported cases, and kills over half its victims.

The best prevention method is to avoid contact with both wild and domestic birds, as well as their feathers and droppings.

The symptoms of avian influenza include a cough, fever, muscle aches, and a sore throat. Due to the fact these symptoms are common of any flu, many do not seek medical attention quickly. If left untreated, symptoms worsen and can escalate to pneumonia, respiratory failure, collapsed lung, heart problems, and kidney failure.

According to the Statesman Journal, the biggest challenge the virus poses is for bird keepers; domestic flocks must be protected from interaction with wild birds, including areas contaminated by wild birds such as ponds and grass, since the virus can be carried in bird droppings. The Journal also states, “The current avian flu outbreak now has been confirmed in eight backyard poultry flocks and three captive wild birds in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and a commercial turkey farm in California.” The report was made just prior to California’s second incident reported in the Capital Press.

Bird-X bird control products help protect public areas from over 60 bird-spread transmissible diseases, including the avian influenza virus. For these reasons, birds and their messes need to be kept out of certain areas, for the mutual protection of both birds and humans.

Bird-X, Inc. has spent over 50 years as the leading international brand of humane bird control solutions and is dedicated to protecting the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment in which we all live. The Chicago-based company manufactures a complete line of unique bird control products.

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Kelly Nelson
Bird-X, Inc.
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