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Avian flu detected in California mountain lions as outbreak grows

The Eurasian pressure of the extremely pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in two mountain lions in California, wildlife well being consultants confirmed Tuesday.

The California Division of Fish and Wildlife stated the stays of two mountain lions — a mom and its feminine cub — had been collected from Mono Lake in Mono County in December and January. 

Samples had been submitted to the California Animal Well being and Meals Security Laboratory in Davis for preliminary testing. The U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Nationwide Veterinary Providers Laboratories confirmed the detection of avian influenza final week.

The mountain lions are the second species of untamed mammal identified to have contracted the avian influenza, or HPAI H5N1, in California because the virus was reported in wild birds in July 2022. To this point, the virus has been present in 45 counties statewide, CDFW stated.


Dr. Jaime Rudd, a pesticide and illness investigations specialist in CDFW’s Wildlife Well being Lab stated researchers don’t count on the avian influenza to have a “population-level” impression on California’s mountain lions or different mammalian carnivores.

“The primary route of illness transmission of carnivores appears to be by ingestion of contaminated birds, usually waterfowl equivalent to geese,” Rudd stated. “Biologists following the actions of those mountain lions famous that they’d preyed upon wild Canada geese up to now.”

CDFW says an infection of untamed mammals with avian influenza viruses is comparatively uncommon. Sporadic detections have been made in mammalian carnivores within the U.S. and Canada, together with foxes, bobcats, raccoons, skunks and bears. 

The detection comes as an ongoing fowl flu outbreak has value the federal government greater than $660 million and added to customers’ ache on the grocery retailer after greater than 58 million birds had been slaughtered to restrict the unfold of the virus.

Along with the price of the federal government response that the USDA collected and rising costs for eggs, hen and turkey, farmers who increase these animals have simply misplaced upward of greater than $1 billion, in accordance with some estimates. 

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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