May 7, 2024 - News

🦠 1 map to go: Avian flu on the rise

A map of the United States shows counties where avian flu has been detected in wild mammals. The disease is widespread, particularly across New England, the upper midwest, Colorado and the Pacific northwest. It's been prevalent in red foxes but has also been found in a dolphin in Florida and a polar bear in Alaska.
Data: USDA; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Several wild animals in Oregon, including skunks, American martens, raccoons and red foxes have been infected with the flu virus strain currently spreading in dairy cattle in the U.S.

Why it matters: Up to 75% of new and emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, and most of those can be traced back to wildlife.

  • Bird flu has affected nearly 20 wild mammal species in the U.S. since 2022, now cows are being infected (though they can recover with treatment).
  • The CDC has said the risk to the general public is low.

The intrigue: Oregon is susceptible to continued outbreaks of avian influenza because of its location within the Pacific Flyway, with migratory birds bringing incursions of avian influenza to domestic poultry populations, Meg Schaeffer, an epidemiologist, told Axios.

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