Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals. The California Department of Health Services has confirmed the new strain in chickens and poultry workers in two Southern California counties, after conducting tests on wild birds, dogs and cats. Officials say there is no evidence that people have gotten sick.
As of Wednesday, the virus has spread to at least 20 other counties in California.
On Sunday, health officials from California, Colorado and Utah issued a national warning against all people getting close to or around infected birds or birds in commercial poultry farms.
As of Wednesday, officials say there have been no cases of human infection in the U.S.
The CDC says human infection usually results from exposure to animals already carrying the virus that are then spread to humans.
So far, human cases of bird flu have been reported in six states: California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
Health experts say the new bird flu virus could eventually adapt to humans — meaning people will become infected with it and be able to spread it to other people.
“There probably is no practical way to stop an infection, as the virus spreads so rapidly and there are so many other people around,” says Dr. Michael O’Donnell, Chief Medical Officer for the Texas Department of Health.
No cases so far have been reported in Texas, but health officials in the state do not know if the virus has made its way there.
In California, officials say it’s likely a sickening wild bird has infected people. Officials in San Diego County say the virus has infected three people’s chicken eggs, five people’s ducks, two people’s chickens and six people’s geese, among other birds. The chickens were reportedly not showing any symptoms of the infection, health officials said. Three of the people infected said they received no medical attention for the infection