Dead vultures in Charleston Co. test positive for avian flu, health officials say

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – State health officials are warning community members to avoid dead or sick wild vultures after dead vultures found in Charleston County tested positive for avian influenza.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says they are aware of a “mass die-off” of wild vultures in the county. Some of those birds tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused by the influenza virus subtypes, including H5N1.

The agency says, while the risk to people, pets and tame animals is thought to be low, the risk is not well known and contact with dead or sick birds should be avoided.

Additionally, the agency recommends avoiding areas where the birds have been found as the virus can be spread through feathers and fecal matter or areas contaminated by infected birds.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources encourages the public to report unusual bird deaths.

DHEC says anyone who comes in contact with a dead bird and develops symptoms of fevers, coughs, fatigue and body aches to seek medical attention and report the potential exposure to their health care provider and local health department.

DHEC recommends monitoring for symptoms for 10 days after known exposure to a bird with HPAI.

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