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Avian Influenza virus detected in wild birds in Butte & Glenn counties

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Canadian geese roam on a field of grass

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Wildlife disease specialists have confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Eurasian H5N1 Avian Influenza in three wild birds found in Colusa and Glenn counties.

The birds were collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 5 during a mortality event at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex and submitted to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center for preliminary testing.

On July 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the detection of avian influenza H5N1 in two Canada geese and one American white pelican and notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Wildlife Health Laboratory.

These are the first detections of avian influenza H5N1 in wild birds in California. Although avian influenza viruses naturally circulate among water birds, the strain of 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. The virus also remains highly contagious for domestic poultry.

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Currently, there are no confirmed cases of avian influenza in domestic poultry in California.

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