Avian flu found in wild birds across Central Florida counties

Birds in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River counties reportedly died of avian flu strain

Migrating birds are shown at the Great Salt Lake Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Antelope Island, Utah. The largest natural lake west of the Mississippi is shrinking past its lowest levels in recorded history, raising fears about toxic dust, ecological collapse and economic consequences. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Confirmed cases of the avian flu have killed birds in Brevard, Volusia and Indian River counties, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Tuesday.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed cases of the highly contagious bird flu, which was first documented in the U.S. last year, in various species, including a lesser scaup and black vultures.

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The FWC said its currently investigating the bird deaths in the aforementioned counties.

These deaths follow other Florida avian flu cases, spurred by a blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County testing positive in January, adding to the many cases found in birds throughout the South, according to FWC officials.

While there is a low risk of transmission to humans, and no known human infections have been reported in North America as of now, the FWC urges the public to “avoid handling sick or dead wildlife, prohibit the contact of domestic birds with wild birds, and report wild bird mortalities to FWC so deaths can be investigated.”

According to wildlife officials, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is not treatable and easily transmissible in wild birds, which may lead to different practices and guidelines at Central Florida aviaries.

Last week, avian flu fears prompted the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne to close its free-flight walk-through aviaries. According to zoo officials, the exhibit will be closed to the public until further notice.

To report a bird fatality, click here.

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.