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Avian Influenza

For information about Avian Influenza H7N9, see http://ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/dcepi/epi/flu/h7n9

Last reviewed 1/13/2014

Questions and Answers - Avian Influenza (PDF file, last updated 1/13/2010)

Sick or dead bird reporting

For poultry or pet birds, call the Avian Health Program (part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture) at 1-800-491-1899.

For sick or injured wild birds, call one of the following:

  • California Department of Fish and Game [858-467-4201 or 888-DFG-CALTIP (888-334-2258)]
  • a local wildlife rehabilitation organization OR
  • your local animal control agency. For cities served by Orange County Animal Care Services, call 714-935-6848.

For dead wild birds:

  • If there are four (4) or fewer dead wild birds, call Orange County Vector Control District at 714-971-2421, Ext. 117, send an e-mail to Vector Control at wnv@ocvcd.org, or call the State WNV hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD [877-968-2473]. They will decide if the bird is appropriate for West Nile Virus testing.
  • If there are more than five (5) dead wild birds, contact the California Department of Fish and Game Regional Office at (858) 467-4201 or their toll-free number 888-DFG-CALTIP [888-334-2258].

Avian Influenza H5N1

Areas with human avian influenza A (H5N1) cases

Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam.  One human case has been reported from Canada, but this case had travel to China during the exposure period.

H5N1 is considered endemic in poultry in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

For the latest human case count, please see the World Health Organization Web site

* Pending confirmation

NOTE: No confirmed H5N1 cases have been reported in South America, Australia, or the South Pacific.

Areas with avian influenza A (H5N1) detected in birds

See the latest updates

NOTE: NO highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 cases have been reported in birds in North America, South America, or Australia.

In the winter of 2003-2004, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (influenza A H5N1) were reported in poultry in Asia (the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, and China). Over 150 million birds died from this influenza or were killed in the attempt to contain the outbreaks. Since then, additional areas have been affected in Africa, Asia and Europe. Outbreaks are ongoing in varying degrees in the affected areas and continue to spread geographically, often reappearing in areas that may have not had any activity for months-years. See the latest updates on areas with affected birds.

Human cases of avian influenza (H5N1) associated with these poultry outbreaks were first reported in January 2004. Please see table above for an up-to-date list of areas with human cases of avian influenza (H5N1) and for the link to the human case count. To date, only limited person-to-person transmission of the H5N1 virus among close contacts has been documented. Most cases have resulted from contact with infected poultry, surfaces or objects contaminated with poultry droppings, or undercooked poultry products.

Previously, human cases of avian influenza H5N1 had been reported in Hong Kong in 1997 (18 cases, 6 deaths) and in China and Hong Kong in 2003 (2 confirmed cases, 1 confirmed death with one additional family member who died of respiratory illness but could not be tested for H5N1). Additional human cases of avian influenza infection (different subtypes) were reported in the United Kingdom in 1996 (H7N7), China and Hong Kong in 1999 (H9N2), Virginia in 2002 (H7N2), Netherlands in 2003 (H7N7), Hong Kong in 2003 (H9N2), New York in 2003 (H7N2), Canada in 2004 (H7N3), United Kingdom in 2007 (H7N2), and Hong Kong in 2007 (H9N2).

The avian influenza H5N1 outbreaks in Asia are concerning because of the risk of a possible pandemic, or worldwide outbreak. A pandemic can occur if this new influenza virus subtype, which has already been shown to cause serious illness in humans, is able to either exchange genes with human flu viruses or mutate sufficiently over time to allow it to be transmitted human-to-human. Since this would be a completely new influenza virus to humans, no one would have immunity and all ages could be at risk for severe disease. As it does not appear that H5N1 will be eradicated easily from birds and additional areas are becoming involved, more human cases are expected and the probability that a pandemic will occur is increased. The last major pandemic (the Spanish flu) was in 1918, during which up to 40 million people died worldwide.

The CDC does not currently recommend avoiding travel to any of the H5N1-affected countries. However, prior to any international travel, please consult with the CDC's Travelers' Health web page, your primary healthcare provider, or a travel clinic and make sure that you have received all the necessary vaccinations, are aware of the precautions needed while abroad, and pack a travel health kit with basic first aid and medical supplies. While in areas affected by H5N1, avoid all direct contact with birds (including poultry and wild birds), places where live birds are raised or kept (e.g., poultry farms and bird markets), and surfaces contaminated with bird droppings or secretions. Eat only bird meat and products (such as eggs) that have been fully cooked. Wash your hands frequently, or use alcohol-based hand gels (you'll need to bring them with you) when soap and water are not available or hands are not visibly soiled. For more information about travel to H5N1 affected areas, see: wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentAvianFluAsia.aspx.

After you return, monitor your health for 7 days. If you become ill with fever and cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing, or if you develop any illness during this period, consult a health care provider immediately and inform them of your symptoms, where you traveled, and whether you had contact with birds or another sick person

For more information about avian influenza, please see: "Questions and Answers, Avian Influenza" [pdf file] or consult the resources below.

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Additional / Resources

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Physicians/Health Care Providers:
Please refer to the documents below for information on testing for avian influenza and infection control precautions.

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Influenza and Avian Influenza Updates (newsletter)

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February 16, 2006 - Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Update
(file size: PDF file 45k) 

Avian Flu update 2/16/06