CDFW: Avian flu continues to be found wild birds in Mendocino and across California – The Mendocino Voice

The Mendocino Voice | Mendocino County, CA (
California Fish and Wildlife
MENDOCINO Co., 9/7/22 — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has issued a warning that a strain of avian flu, known as HPAI H5N1, continues to be found in wild birds across California and has now been identified in 13 total counties, including one case reported in Mendocino County. The strain currently in circulation can be contagious amongst different bird species, “and domestic birds such as chickens are especially vulnerable,” the announcement states.
In order to reduce the risk of the virus spreading to domestic birds such as chickens, CDFW has a number of recommendations, including reporting dead wild birds and poultry, minimizing contact between domestic birds and wild birds as well as their water sources, and washing clothing, footwear, and equipment after recreating “in areas with large concentrations of waterfowl and other waterbirds” and before “traveling to other areas or interacting with domestic birds.”
The agency also has guidelines on transporting or engaging with dead wild birds or domestic poultry, included below. You can also find more information on this informational flyer, and on CDFW’s website.
Here’s the announcement from the CDFW:
As the Eurasian strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 continues to impact wild and domestic birds across the state, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wildlife disease specialists are reminding the public of steps they can take to help reduce the spread of infection. To date HPAI H5N1 has been detected in 34 wild birds from 13 counties including Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Mendocino, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus and Yolo. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has also reported detections of HPAI H5N1 in domestic birds in Butte, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Fresno and Tuolumne counties.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza is contagious among birds, and domestic birds such as chickens are especially vulnerable. The strain of Eurasian HPAI H5N1 currently in circulation in the U.S. and Canada has been causing illness and death in a higher diversity of wild bird species than during previous avian influenza outbreaks. In particular, waterfowl, other waterbirds, raptor predators and avian scavengers such as vultures and gulls have been affected. Unfortunately, infection in these species is nearly always fatal, and no vaccines or treatments are available.
Help reduce the spread of HPAI:
The Centers for Disease Control considers the transmission risk of avian influenza to people to be low, but as a general precaution recommends limiting contact with wild birds and sick or dead poultry. If there is a need to dispose of a dead bird, wear impermeable gloves or a plastic bag turned inside-out to collect the remains into a plastic garbage bag, which may then be placed in the regular trash collection. Afterwards, wash hands with soap and water and change clothing before having contact with domestic poultry or pet birds. If assistance or guidance is needed with the disposal of dead birds on private property, contact your county environmental health department or animal services for options available in your area.
For more information on HPAI H5N1, check out CDFW’s informational flyer addressing frequently asked questions and links to additional resources. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains the official list of HPAI H5N1 detections on its website. For guidance on keeping domestic birds healthy, please visit the CDFA and USDA websites.
For guidance on orphaned or injured live wild birds, please contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center prior to collecting the animal. Be advised that some wildlife rehabilitation centers may have restrictions on the wildlife species they will admit.
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