WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The City of Wichita Falls is warning the public to be cautious around sick and dying birds.
According to a press release sent Friday afternoon, The Wichita Falls – Wichita County Public Health District is aware of several dead geese around Sikes Lake.
The release said they are working to ensure any sick or dead birds are removed. Officials also have received calls about dead waterfowl at Lucy Park.
The Health District, according to the release, has been in contact with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department about the number of dead birds and said they have declined to test any animals at this time.
Earlier this year a fledgling owl tested positive for H5N1 in this area. Texas Animal Health Commission said, Avian Influenza (AI) is a flu virus that may cause illness in domestic poultry, fowl, and birds. Migratory waterfowl are a natural reservoir for this disease, according to the release.
The CDC said, infected birds shed bird flu viruses in their saliva, mucous, and feces. Bird flu infections in humans is rare, but human infections can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled.
The release warned, people with close or lengthy unprotected contact (not wearing respiratory protection or eye protection) with infected birds or places that sick birds or their mucous, saliva, or feces have touched, may be at greater risk of bird flu virus infection.
Illnesses in humans from the bird flu virus have ranged from mild to severe illness and that can result in death. Currently, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus in the United States.
The current transmission risk of Avian Influenza from infected birds to people remains low, but the release said, the public should take protective measures such as wearing gloves, face masks, and handwashing if contact with wild birds cannot be avoided.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife guidelines:
If you find a dead wild bird on your property particularly waterfowl, take precautions such as Using gloves, a mask, and eye protection. Pick the bird up and place it in a trash bag.
Double bag the bird and tie the top and wrap it with some type of tape, preferably duct tape. The bag may then be placed in an outside trash receptacle.
If you have handled a bird and become symptomatic, contact your primary care provider
As a poultry owner, you know how important it is to keep your birds healthy.
If you have sick or dying birds, please consult your veterinarian, or the local wildlife biologist at 325-203-2037, or report to the Texas Animal Health Commission (or the USDA) right away. Toll-Free Number: 1-800-550-8242
For more information about HPAI in Wichita County, visit www.wichitafallstx.gov
For more information about HPAI in Texas, visit www.tahc.texas.gov