Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals
In Los Angeles County, several of the city’s live chicken markets were shut down this week because of a dead and alive bird flu virus that was moving among birds.
On Friday, Los Angeles County reported eight dead chickens, seven live birds and two dead and two live chickens.
In Pasadena, where live chickens were sold in the same markets as live poultry markets in Los Angeles, the city’s health department reported two live chickens with illnesses; one died on Tuesday, another was sick, and the third’s condition was unknown.
In Long Beach, which is part of the greater Southern California area, the Long Beach City Health Department reported a total of 35 cases of bird flu, which included 14 cases at two live poultry markets that were shut down early this week.
On Friday, the American Bird Conservancy reported that nine of the eight farms where bird flu was found were on the West Coast, including farms on the West Coast of California, Washington, Nevada and Oregon.
A study released last month by the American Bird Conservancy found that there were more than 700 wild avian deaths in the United States during 2014, with more than 50 percent coming from California. That study found that the top four causes of death of wild birds were:
Death from predation
Death from collisions
Wounds from human or domestic mammal injuries and
Wounds from predation.
These results reflect high risks for birds in California. One California-based study found that more than a quarter of California’s birds are killed by humans annually.
At the same time, more than half of California’s bird deaths occur at live bird markets, which are more difficult to control than the traditional pet bird or poultry farms, which have been the focal point of bird flu outbreaks in the state. The most common reason for bird deaths at live poultry markets are collisions, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January.
“It is important that all places where birds are sold have established policies to protect the health and well-being of these birds,” said Steve N. Wertz, president and CEO of the American Bird Conservancy. “It is critical that all live poultry sellers, including vendors, retailers and consumers, understand the need to take preventative steps to reduce risks of transmission