New Orleans on red alert after Avian Flu detected across state

January 11, 2024 by No Comments

The discovery of over two dozen deceased birds along the banks of Bayou St. John has generated concern regarding the potential presence of avian influenza (AI) in the area. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) confirmed that one of the deceased birds tested positive for a strain of AI, contributing to the existing total of approximately 150 confirmed cases statewide. This marks the second consecutive year of H5N1 AI detection within Louisiana. This comes after locals have also reported masses of dead birds in New Orleans.

Avian influenza is a zoonotic virus capable of transmission between birds, mammals (including humans), and other avian species. The presence of AI poses a particular concern for individuals engaged in poultry farming. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports only four confirmed human AI infections in the United States to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has documented 138 fatal human cases within the Western Pacific regions of Southeast Asia over the past two decades.

Despite the low risk of human transmission, the LDWF urges residents to exercise caution. As a precautionary measure, the agency recommends avoiding contact with deceased birds and utilizing appropriate protective gear if removal is necessary. LDWF officials attribute the recent AI outbreak to stagnant waterways caused by prolonged dry conditions. They anticipate that recent rainfall may contribute to alleviating the situation and potentially reducing the number of avian mortalities.

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