Six birds test positive for avian flu in Orange County
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Two young birds tested positive for the H7N9 avian flu virus in Orange County after being vaccinated with a vaccine given to protect against H5N1 avian influenza, officials reported Sunday.
The two birds were taken from a public bird-feeder near the entrance to the Sunken Meadow Nature Center on Saturday, and will undergo testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the virus is actually the H7N9 strain and not a more serious type of avian flu, officials said.
The birds were part of a multistage process to test the public against H5N1 and then a third strain, the strain that was found in a woman who died in 2009.
As of 7:30 a.m. Sunday, all birds tested negative for the H7N9 strain, said Dr. John Kress, head of the Center for Biosecurity in San Diego.
About one third of the birds exposed to three different flocks at the nature center were infected, while the birds vaccinated at the nature center were not infected, Kress said.
The nature center opened in December, he said.
The testing process was started last week, Kress said. The birds were exposed through the air, so they didn’t have direct contact with people.
The woman who died in 2009 had no contact with birds or people, except for being at the hospital after the illness, Kress said. The woman, Karen Bissinger, had contact with infected poultry in her day care center and at a day care center for infants.
Kress said the nature center has been operating under a high level of safety protocols since it first opened, and the center only received three complaints in the first week.
“It’s a very low level of any kind of incident,