Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
Adobe Reader
Get Adobe Reader icon
Note: PDF documents on this site were created using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later. If you are using an earlier version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (4.x or less), document functionality may be reduced.
Avian influenza (AI)
Geese flying
(3 or more birds)
Reporting form






This page is about influenza in birds. Click on the links for information about influenza in:


         Humans     Dogs     Other animals (CDC)   


What is avian influenza?

  • Avian influenza (AI) refers to a family of influenza (flu) viruses that commonly infect birds.

  • There are many strain of AI viruses. They are classified based on proteins found on the surface of virus itself. These are called H (hemagglutinin) and  N (neuraminidase).

  • Depending on the strain involved, AI viruses can occasionally jump to humans and many animal species, causing symptoms of flu.

  • Some of most important AI viruses are those that cause severe disease in poultry. These are referred to as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

    • Note: HPAI strains causing disease in poultry do not always cause disease in humans.


How is AI transmitted to people/animals?

  • In the wild, AI viruses can be carried by waterfowl (ducks, geese) - These birds usually do not have symptoms of flu but can shed the virus in their feces.

  • Domestic birds like poultry (chickens, turkeys) become infected when they get in contact with waterfowl feces containing the virus.

    • Objects used to care for animals can become contaminated and spread the virus to other animals if not cleaned properly (a.k.a. fomites).

  • In addition, infected domestic birds can pass the virus to each other through direct contact.

  • Humans may become infected with some strains of AI through close, direct contact with infected poultry. Human to human transmission of AI rarely occurs.


What are symptoms of AI?


  • Depending on the strain involved, infected birds can show any of the following: no symptoms, respiratory discharge, swollen eyes or head, ruffled feathers, fever, and death.

  • Click here to learn more about AI in animals. (CFSPH)


  • As in animals, symptoms of AI in people vary with the infecting strains. Common symptoms include: fever, cough, muscle aches, conjunctivitis and sometimes pneumonia

  • Click here to learn more about AI infections in humans. (CDC)


What is the treatment for AI?

  • Commercial birds with AI are usually euthanized to prevent further spread of the virus.

  • Click here for information about AI treatment in people.

  • (CDC)


What should I do to prevent AI in  animals or myself?

Biosecurity and infection control are key to prevent spread of AI to animals and people. This includes:

  • Isolating sick birds from the healthy ones

  • Preventing contact between domestic birds and wild birds

  • Wearing appropriate protection when handling sick birds (e.g. gloves and face protection)

  • Hand washing after touching birds

  • Report sick/dead poultry to Local and State (CDFA) veterinary authorities

  • Click here to know more about how to protect domestic birds from AI. (USDA)





To date, HPAI in animals has not been identified in Los Angeles County. However, the Veterinary Public Health Program (VPH) monitors closely the following situations:



In addition, VPH monitors cases of flu in other species






Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Acute Communicable Disease Control (ACDC) - Avian Influenza


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

          Past Outbreaks of Avian Influenza

          Avian Influenza A Virus Infection in People

          Avian Influenza in Birds

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Avian Influenza

Last updated: June 8, 2017

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services