News Health/Medical Avian Flu Virus Detected in NYC Wild Birds
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Avian Flu Virus Detected in NYC Wild Birds

May 15, 2024

The highly infectious and severe H5N1 avian flu virus has been detected in a small number of wild birds in New York City. Researchers found the virus in fecal samples from six birds representing four different species.

Background

Avian flu, also known as bird flu, is now widespread among wild birds globally. It has caused outbreaks in U.S. poultry and dairy cows. However, the discovery of H5N1 in city birds does not signal the start of a human influenza pandemic.

Research Details

Local high school students working as paid interns collected over 1,900 samples between January 2022 and November 2023. Genetic analysis revealed that the H5N1 viruses found in New York City belonged to two different genotypes—a mix of Eurasian and North American bird flu viruses.

Community Involvement

This study represents the first large-scale U.S. investigation of avian influenza in an urban area with active community participation. Birds play a crucial role in understanding circulating avian viruses and their potential impact on both birds and humans.

Preventing Transmission

To minimize the risk of avian flu transmission to humans, it's essential to maintain distance from wild birds. Pet owners should also prevent their pets from close contact with wildlife.

Source: Journal of Virology

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