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Avian flu has been detected in Riverside County, where officials announced Thursday, Oct. 20, that two sick geese in the Perris area had tested positive.

Avian influenza has been and was anticipated to strike locally, a Riverside County Animal Services news release states.

The geese were impounded by the county’s Department of Animal Services last week and humanely euthanized due to their advanced decline, departmental spokesperson John Welsh said. Officials got confirmation of the positive results late Tuesday, the release states. This strain of flu was first detected in the United States in the East in January.

“As wild birds migrated to the West, California counties started detecting cases,” states the release, which adds that the first California cases were seen in July.

The flu strain is sickening and killing a wider range of wild bird species than with previous avian influenza outbreaks, the release states. The species affected include: waterfowl, raptor predators and scavengers such as vultures and gulls. Domestic birds, such as chickens, are especially vulnerable.

Infection in these species is almost always fatal and there is no vaccine or treatment, according to the release.

“Although we just have these two positive cases so far, the disease is considered widespread in the InlandEmpire and further cases will likely emerge as testing continues,” Riverside County Chief Veterinarian Dr. Sara Strongin said in the release.

Neighboring counties began reporting positive cases in recent weeks, Riverside County animal services officials said in the release.

According to the Department of Food and Agriculture, there were no reported animal cases in San Bernardino County as of Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Los Angeles County officials on Monday, Oct. 17, in wild birds in the county, marking the first sign of the virus there.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the is low, the release states. Still, the CDC suggests limiting contact with wild birds and sick or dead poultry.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife echoed that exposure risks to humans is low. However, people working in capacities where bird-handling is common, such as the poultry industry, were urged to take precautions provided by public health officials.

“Wild bird species at highest risk of infection include waterfowl —swans, geese, diving ducks — waterbirds — gulls, terns, cranes, herons, shorebirds — and birds that prey or scavenge on these species, such as eagles, hawks, falcons, corvids and vultures,” the Fish & Wildlife department said.

Domestic chickens and turkeys can also be infected, usually from exposure to saliva, feces and respiratory droplets of viral wild game. Virus particles can also attach and rub off in feathers, footwear and vehicles, that department said.

There was no mention of H5N1 being transmitted through cooked poultry or turkey.

Sick or dead poultry, domestic ducks and pet birds should be reported to the California Department of Food & Agriculture at 866-922-2473.

City ɫ̳ Service and Staff Writer Jordan Darling contributed to this report.

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