Long Beach, CA — Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is urging her constituents to take steps to prevent the spread of avian flu after the Department of Public Health confirmed eight cases of the disease in birds in Los Angeles County, including at least five cases in her district in Long Beach and Cerritos. Avian flu currently poses low risk to humans but is highly contagious among birds and is responsible for deadly outbreaks in wild bird populations and at poultry farms.
“So far, experts have identified eight birds with avian flu in LA County and there are undoubtedly many more birds infected,” said Supervisor Hahn. “We need to take simple precautions to help prevent the spread of this virus among birds and to protect ourselves and our pets.”
The Department of Public Health recommends the following precautions:
• Avoid contact with wild birds, even if they don’t look sick.
• Avoid surfaces that may be contaminated with saliva or feces from wild or domestic birds.
• Keep dogs and other pets away from wild birds.
• Take down birdfeeders and birdbaths that may lead birds to congregate.
• Do not handle sick or injured birds. Contact your local animal control agency for help.
• Bird owners should seek veterinary attention for their own animals if they seem sick.
• People with backyard chickens, ducks or other poultry should remove water and food sources that feed wild birds (bird feeders, bird baths, etc.).
• People with backyard flocks should keep poultry feed away from wild birds and rodents.
• People who handle pet birds or backyard poultry should thoroughly wash their hands and clean and disinfect footwear before and after coming into contact with their birds.
Wild birds infected with avian flu may have no symptoms or may have neurological signs (including swimming in circles, head tilt, or tremors), respiratory distress, or sudden death. Domestic birds may have swelling of the head and eyes, diarrhea, weakness, respiratory distress, and loss of appetite.