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Researchers find bird flu cases among several animals in New York City

The virus was found in six samples obtained from four bird species: three Canada geese, a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon, and a chicken.
Researchers find bird flu cases among several animals in New York City
Posted at 9:26 PM, Apr 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-10 21:26:32-04

Keep your distance from New York City wildlife: That's a warning from experts who just found several cases of bird flu among animals in the area.

Researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System found the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 virus) in six samples obtained from four bird species: three Canada geese, a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon, and a chicken. In the study published on bioRxiv, scientists say that these birds were found along the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx, as well as on a major highway in Queens, Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan.

While New York has previously reported cases within the state, experts remain concerned about the potential for public exposure to infected animals, and advise the public to avoid touching these animals.

"You're not gonna walk past a sick goose and get the bird flu. It won't work like that," Philip Meade, the lead author of the study, told CBS News. "Precautions that everybody should be taking would be just to limit contact with wildlife ... You shouldn't be running up to a Canada goose and trying to catch it."

The H5N1 outbreak was first reported in Feb. 2022, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the strain on a Midwest poultry farm. 

While primarily impacting birds, the virus has also infected over 200 mammals across the U.S., including two humans: One contracted it through infected poultry, and the other through an infected mammal.

The New York City Health Department says that while the risk to the general population is low, you should still report any sick or dead wild birds you may encounter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at (718) 482-4922 or (518) 478-2203.

SEE MORE: Here's what officials know about the ongoing US bird flu outbreak


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