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New warning from vets for bird owners as bird flu cases rise

Bird mortalities in South Florida could be linked to the virus
Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 17:46:42-05

Bird flu cases are back on the rise and as a result there's a new warning from veterinarians for those with pet birds.

According the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) strain: H5, has been found in lesser scaup, black vultures and other wild bird species.

Scientists believe bird mortalities in Brevard, Indian River and Volusia counties are linked to the virus.

A strain was also found in blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County last month.

According to Dr. Gwen Flinchum at All Birds Clinic in Greenacres, chances of the virus transmitting to humans is low and there hasn't been any confirmed humans infections, however, she warns the public must still take precautions.

"You can’t put wild birds in a cage so they can come in and infect your backyard flock and then they can possibly infect you," she said.

She says prevention is key to stopping the spread. She stressed the importance of not touching sick or dead wildlife and to avoid having domestic birds come in contact with wild birds.

"You have to keep in mind that it’s also spread by fomites which is inanimate objects like feed buckets, hands shoes, that kind of thing," she added.

The FWC said that since the virus is not treatable and spreads easily among birds wildlife, rehabbers may not accept birds.

The agency also recommends reporting any bird deaths so they can be investigated and tested.

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