Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Georgia bald eagle plagued by bird flu as it spreads to US

Woodstock, Ga. ( Associated Press) — A flu-infected bird across the country is being blamed for the deaths of three bald eagles in Georgia.

The University of Georgia’s Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study said it confirmed avian flu in the chile on Thursday.

Officials said it was the first time the virus has been confirmed in the species in Georgia. Researchers first detected the disease in March in dead eagles found in Chatham, Glyn and Liberty counties. Lab tests at the United States Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the results.

The death of bald eagles in Georgia is the latest reported nationwide. Last month, two bald eagles in Vermont were found infected with avian influenza, state wildlife officials announced. North Carolina also reported the death of a bald eagle in that state in March.

Nationwide, federal officials have confirmed more than 660 cases of avian flu in wild birds this year, including 11 cases in Georgia. Tens of millions of domestic birds have also died from the disease or have been euthanized to keep the virus from ravaging commercial flocks.

Zoos across the country are also taking steps to protect their birdsSome move indoors and away from people and wildlife.

“We don’t know what the future holds, but the worst-case scenario: the virus becomes established in our wild bird population,” said David Stolknecht, director of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.

“If it is kept in wild birds, it will remain a threat to wild birds and commercial poultry health,” he said. “It can also spread to Central America and South America as birds migrate.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the virus is considered to be of low risk to humans, and no human cases have been reported in the US.

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