Authorities say the avian flu outbreak has killed more than 200 birds in a forested area of Chicago.
In a statement Thursday, Cook County foresters said the deaths occurred at Bakers Lake Forest Conservation.
To determine the cause of death, the federal government, which is the only official declaration of avian influenza cases, is conducting further tests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A (H5N1) virus is highly contagious in birds and can be fatal in domestic poultry. On the other hand, it provides a moderate risk for humans.
Over the past few months, zoos across the country have begun bringing their birds into the house to avoid potentially deadly infections.
According to the Forest Conservation Agency, Bakers Lake Conservation is one of the most important heron rookies in the Midwest.
Many other native and migratory birds also use the area for nesting and feeding.
“Due to the nature of the local bird population, to date the effects of avian influenza have been observed only in waterfowl and waterfowl,” the agency added.
After finding multiple dead birds the day before, biologists distributed “seven cormorants to state pathologists for necrosis and examination” on April 7.
According to lab results, the birds were suffering from H5N1 avian influenza outbreak.
In recent months, the incidence of avian flu in backyard herds and wild birds has increased across dozens of states.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the flu was first discovered in February in a commercial turkey herd in Dubois County, Indiana. It was the first case of the disease in the United States since 2020.
Image Credit: Getty
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