Warning: Bird Flu Discovered In New York City Birds

Potentially deadly bird flu has been detected in several birds in New York city parks and green spaces. According to postdoctoral fellow Philip Meade of the Icahn School of Medicine, infected birds included several geese, a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon and a chicken in Marcus Garvey Park.

Despite the presence of the disease in affected birds, only two humans in the U.S. were known to contract bird flu since 2022. One case was reported earlier this month by medical officials in Texas, and both were described by health officials as “minor.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the most recent infection was suffered by an individual who had close contact with infected dairy cows.

 

 

Meade downplayed the danger to the public. “You’re not gonna walk past a sick goose and get the bird flu. It won’t work like that. Precautions that everybody should be taking would be just to limit contact with wildlife.”

He said people should avoid “running up to a Canadian goose and trying to catch it” whenever possible.

The CDC also minimized the public health danger, declaring there is “currently no evidence of bird flu spreading among humans.” Federal agencies do request that dead birds in NYC be reported.

 

 

Interestingly enough, there is a group in the nation’s largest city that actively seeks infected birds. It is a partnership between the Wild Bird Fund, the Icahn School of Medicine and its Krammer Lab along with Bio Bus.

Rita McMahon is with the Wild Bird Fund. She explained that “people don’t believe there’s wildlife here, but we’re really very, very rich in wildlife because we’re on the Atlantic Flyway and we have so many places for the birds to stop over during migration.”

Bird lovers and local students collected data over a two-year period on the bird population, and their results were published earlier this month.

Dr. Meade noted that six viruses were detected in birds in the city. “We found them in green spaces in New York City, even in Manhattan where a chicken was running loose.”

The bird flu has impacted animals around the world such as cattle and foxes. 

The public is advised that anyone attempting to rescue a sick animal should take precautions such as wearing masks and gloves. Children and pets should be kept away from diseased animals.

 

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