Bird Flu Case Detected in Texas, Nationwide Health Advisory Issued

Santa Barbara County Encourages Preteen Vaccinationsfor a Healthy Future (Edhat)

Due to a recent report of an isolated case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), or more commonly known as “bird flu,” at a commercial dairy farm in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a nationwide health advisory.

As of today, there have not been any cases of bird flu in Santa Barbara County and the current risk this virus poses to the public remains low.

Bird Flu is disease found in some populations of wild waterfowl that can infect wild birds, poultry (i.e. chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese), as well as a wide variety of other domesticated and wild birds. Lately several cattle herds across at least 6 States have been identified as well.

The risk to the general public in Santa Barbara County is very low at this time, but residents are reminded to avoid direct contact with wild birds, particularly birds that appear ill or are dead.

Recommendations for the Public

People should avoid being near sick or dead animals or surfaces contaminated with the animal’s feces, litter, raw milk, or other byproducts when not wearing respiratory or eye protection.

People should not prepare or eat uncooked or undercooked food or related uncooked food products, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk or raw cheeses, from animals with suspected or confirmed HPAI A(H5N1) virus infection.

Recommendations for Backyard Bird Flock and Livestock Owners; and Worker Protection

To reduce the risk of HPAI A (H5N1) virus infection, poultry farmers and poultry workers, backyard bird flock owners, livestock farmers and workers, veterinarians and veterinary staff, and responders should wear recommended PPE (e.g., the same PPE is recommended for persons exposed to any confirmed or potentially infected animals as for exposed poultry workers. This includes wearing an N95™ filtering facepiece respirator, eye protection, and gloves and performing thorough hand washing after contact, when in direct physical contact, or during close exposure to sick or dead birds or other animals, carcasses, feces, unpasteurized (raw) milk, or litter from sick birds or other animals confirmed to be or potentially infected with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses.

Workers should receive training on using PPE and demonstrate an understanding of when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to correctly put on, use, take off, dispose of, and maintain PPE, and PPE limitations. HPAI, albeit rarely, can also infect humans. Symptoms of bird flu virus infections in humans have ranged from no symptoms or mild illness (such as eye redness or mild flu-like upper respiratory symptoms), to severe (such as pneumonia requiring hospitalization) and included fever (temperature of 100ºF or greater) or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

If you experience any of these symptoms after coming in contact with a sick or dead bird consult your physician immediately. Bird flu virus infection is usually diagnosed by collecting a swab from the upper respiratory tract (nose or throat) of the sick person.

Testing is more accurate when the swab is collected during the first few days of illness.

Please report any unusual or suspicious numbers of sick or dead domestic birds immediately to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Sick Bird Hotline at (866) 922-2473; report any unusual or suspicious dead wild birds to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife online at:

Stay Informed

For the latest updates on California domestic poultry, follow on CDFA’s Animal Health Branch on Facebook or Instagram. For up to date HPAI alerts visit CDFA – AHFSS – AHB – Avian Influenza (

SBC Public Health

Written by SBC Public Health

Public information provided by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. Learn more at

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