As the Eurasian strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 continues to impact wild and domestic birds across the state, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wildlife disease specialists are reminding the public of steps they can take to help reduce the spread of infection. To date HPAI H5N1 has been detected in 34 wild birds from 13 counties including Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Mendocino, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus and Yolo. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has also reported detections of HPAI H5N1 in domestic birds in Butte, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Fresno and Tuolumne counties.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza is contagious among birds, and domestic birds such as chickens are especially vulnerable. The strain of Eurasian HPAI 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. In particular, waterfowl, other waterbirds, raptor predators and avian scavengers such as vultures and gulls have been affected. Unfortunately, infection in these species is nearly always fatal, and no vaccines or treatments are available.