Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals, including humans
Officials confirm seven more people have become sick with the virus
The virus has been detected in Southern California for the first time
It is a H5N1 virus, which is a type of avian influenza virus that attacks mammals and birds and is transmitted from animal to animal
The United States is considered the epicenter of the spread of bird flu because we have the greatest number of poultry farms and we have the greatest number of people who travel internationally.
The California Department of Public Health is asking people stay at home and to avoid public gatherings.
The virus infects birds, such as chickens, turkeys and sparrows, and wild birds. Because they can spread the virus from chicken to chicken, it is also possible to contract the virus from other animals.
People who have any kind of fever or cough are asked to see their doctor and to stay home from church, school and other public gatherings.
The virus is being diagnosed at the Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health lab in Burbank. This includes the laboratory that runs the world’s largest influenza surveillance program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
U.S. Public Health Service Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said, “The United States was the epicenter of the recent global flu season, and LAC will play a leading role in its control.
“This report, the first confirmed case of the Southern California H5N1 virus, confirms that the virus is being reported to us in Southern California. At the same time, we see the virus spreading from the birds that are getting infected to other animals, and we need to be making sure that none of our citizens contract it and spread it to others,” Frieden said in a statement Tuesday.
Last week, the World Health Organization called the Southern California outbreak a pandemic, indicating that the virus had spread.
This latest announcement by the LAC Department of Public Health indicates that more people may have become infected with the virus because it’s not been detected in Southern California.
If confirmed, this means that in the past two weeks it has spread from China, where it was first detected in a person who had visited from Hubei province, to Hanoi and Vietnam, where the virus was first detected in a wild waterfowl, to Hong Kong