First bird flu cases in wild birds reported in Los Angeles County this year exceed last year’s total of five cases, prompting the Los Angeles County Public Health Department to release an order for the city to begin preparing for the spread of the disease.
The California Department of Public Health also released its first case of bird flu in a human health worker, one whose symptoms are similar to the disease as it appears in birds.
The order, which requires the city to prepare for the spread of bird flu, comes after a city staffer was found to be carrying bird flu in her lungs, but she said she hadn’t seen any birds nearby.
The case underscores what city officials say are the challenges they face in trying to slow the spread of bird flu.
“There are two birds, two birds are infected and one bird dies. One of my cases was in a human. But the point is there are two birds. So we just have to work through what we can do immediately to minimize the spread to other birds,” said Michael Friedman, director of the county’s public health district.
“The most important thing is to keep people home unless there is a direct threat to themselves or their families,” he said.
The new order, which comes with an emergency order that allows the public to stay at home as a precaution, says the public should consider the following actions if they see birds:
Stay at home if possible.
Wash hands often.
Seek refuge in place of natural cover, such as trees or buildings.
Move birds that are sick from the area.
Remove dead, dying or sick birds.
Keep sick birds away from wild birds.
Dispose of dead birds properly.
Do not dispose of bird carcasses in storm drains.
Keep dead birds away from composting sites.
Do not feed bird carcasses to wild birds.
Do not dispose of dead birds in any type of landfill.
Do not dispose of dead or ill birds in sewage or other wastewater treatment systems.
Do not release birds that are sick from your property, such as bird baths, bird feeders, or bird houses.
If a person who has symptoms is sick or is exposed to bird flu, contact their doctor