First bird flu cases in wildfowl reported in Los Angeles County this year
Bird flu cases in wildfowl have risen to four in Los Angeles County from three last year, including two in the San Gabriel Valley, a county bird health officer said Wednesday.
The first case of bird flu — confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — was found Thursday in a black-crowned night herring gull found near the Pacific Ocean, said Dr. Robert Redeker of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Two birds were killed and the third bird was euthanized because it was considered too ill to survive, Redeker said.
One dead bird was found last week on a beach in Rolling Hills Estates, south of Whittier.
There are two cases that are suspected of being bird flu, Redeker said, but no one knows at this stage which is which. There is no known link between the cases.
“If we find a link, then it becomes more difficult to know what it is, but it doesn’t mean we are dealing with bird flu,” said Redeker, who confirmed no other cases were found.
“We are continuing to investigate it.”
However, the two cases suspected of being bird flu could not be confirmed, Redeker said, because they were from wildfowl and people with bird flu symptoms have a short incubation period.
The bird flu deaths in Los Angeles County this year were the first to be confirmed in wildfowl. There was one death in the San Gabriel Valley this year, said Dr. John Heyes of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory.
The last time there were confirmed bird flu deaths in wildfowl was in 2006, said Redeker, when three black-crowned night herring gulls were found dead in Whittier.
“It is concerning because we don’t want to have more people get sick, but you take into consideration how contagious it is as well,” he said.
“It is a concern. We don’t want another case, but you have to think about how contagious it is.”
The first three birds reported on Monday were caught near the ocean