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Wildlife center changes protocol after bird flu detected in California

Posted at 1:36 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 20:49:31-04

Avian influenza, or bird flu, was detected in California this month, and a Central Coast wildlife center is taking some precautions to help the virus from spreading.

On Tuesday, Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network shared the new protocols on social media, saying the changes will help keep wild animals at the shelter safe.

The virus (H5N1) has not yet been reported on the Central Coast. The H5N1 virus was found in Colusa and Glenn Counties, in two Canada geese and in one American white pelican, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

To keep animals in their facility safe from transmission, Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network offered these tips:

  • Call the care network helpline at 805-681-1080 before touching any wildlife.
  • Drop off animals at the specific drop-off area in front of the care network.
  • Wear gloves and face masks when interacting with an animal, and thoroughly wash hands if handling an animal is necessary.
  • Take down bird feeders and bird baths.

The virus tends to affect wild waterbirds, including ducks, geese and pelicans, and poultry, like chickens, turkeys and pheasants, though other bird species are at risk.

The CDC says it is rare for humans to contract the virus from birds.