With Poultry Farms On Lockdown, California Reports Avian Flu Outbreak Causing Havoc

Is this solely a hazard to birds, or should humans and their pets be concerned?

by Tejashee Kashyap
With Poultry Farms On Lockdown, California Reports Avian Flu Outbreak Causing Havoc

The threat of an avian flu pandemic looms large. Avian influenza, also referred to as bird flu, is a new menace that has sparked panic throughout California. The outbreak has now caused a financial trail of suffering for both labourers and farmers.

Avian Flu In California

A state of emergency was declared by local authorities as a result of the outbreak, which has particularly affected Sonoma County. To stop the extremely contagious illness from spreading, almost a dozen commercial farms in the county had to put more than a million birds to death in the last two months. The virus is thought to have spread due to migratory birds, namely ducks and geese, who carry it without exhibiting any symptoms and can readily disseminate it to farms raising chickens and turkeys through their droppings and nasal secretions.

California poultry farms are putting stringent biosecurity precautions in place to contain the epidemic. Over the holidays, egg costs in the San Francisco Bay Area have increased due to the avian flu outbreak. To meet demand, supermarkets and dining establishments looked beyond the area for suppliers, which lessened the effect on customers. Poultry farms are on lockdown, wild birds are dropping from the sky, and anxiety levels are increasing. Is this solely a hazard to birds, or should humans and their pets be concerned?

Also Read: USA Sees Rise In COVID-19 & Flu Cases; Wearing Mask Reinstated In Hospitals Of NYC & Some States

Are Humans To Be Concerned?

China
Picture credit- Pixabay

While the risk of human infection is low, cases of avian flu viruses have been documented, particularly in persons who often handle poultry or wild birds.

Birds that are infected usually excrete the virus through their faeces, mucus, and saliva. When a person inhales virus particles or dust that are present in the air, they may be exposed to it. Furthermore, touching one’s mouth, eyes, or nose after coming into contact with a surface contaminated with the virus increases the risk of infection.  Avian flu infections in humans have resulted in a spectrum of illnesses, from mild instances with no symptoms to fatal cases of severe sickness.

Stakeholders in the poultry business are worried about the possibility of other outbreaks and the rising number of backyard hens that could aid in the spread of the avian flu while California fights this outbreak.

Cover image credits: Canva