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Avian flu detected in one bird in Plumas County; risk to public explained


One positive case of avian influenza was reported this week in the Lake Davis Area in an American White Pelican. A small number of individuals were in contact with bird prior to its death, trying to save the diseased bird. While this particular strain of the virus poses minimal risk to humans, out of an abundance of caution, the Plumas County Public Health Agency is warning residents of the potential risk of handling or coming into close contact with a diseased or dead bird.

In the United States, currently 44 states have reported avian flu in wild birds, with only one reported human case as of April 2022. There are reports that infected birds have been found throughout California. Although rare, avian flu can infect humans. Symptoms to be aware of include fever (100F or greater), chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, conjunctivitis (pink eye), headaches, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches or diarrhea.

If you had close contact with obviously sick or dead birds (wild or domesticated), or surfaces contaminated by them, monitor your health for 10 days after you were last exposed. If you get sick after being exposed to sick or potentially infected birds (either wild or domesticated), contact a health care provider and report the bird to the appropriate entity. (See reporting information below.)

Wild birds can carry bird flu without appearing sick. As a general precaution, people should not harvest or handle wild birds that are obviously sick or found dead. Hunters who handle wild birds should dress game birds in the field when possible and practice good biosecurity to prevent any potential disease spread. If possible, wear gloves when dressing birds, and wash hands with soap and water afterwards. Poultry, however, are likely to appear sick when they are infected with avian flu. Bird owners should practice good biosecurity and prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Bird owners should report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to the state. You cannot get avian influenza from properly handled and cooked poultry or eggs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the human risk assessment for the general public to be low. People with job-related or recreational exposures to potentially infected birds are at higher risk and should take precautions listed on the CDC website.

Plumas County Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate risk levels for Plumas County Residents.

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