(BCN) — Four wild birds in Sonoma County have tested positive for avian influenza, county officials said Friday. Avian flu, or “bird flu,” poses minimal risks to humans but out of an “abundance of caution,” the county Department of Health Services is warning residents of the potential risk of handling or coming into close contact with a diseased or dead bird.

The virus is transmitted through saliva and feces and occurs most commonly in wild, migratory waterfowl and birds of prey, the county said. Infected birds may show signs of confusion or lack of coordination, diarrhea, coughing or sneezing.

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Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said that people should never handle a dead or diseased bird, and though severe cases of bird flu are possible in people, the ailment usually presents as a common cold. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, conjunctivitis, headache, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches and diarrhea. The U.S. has only reported one case of bird flu this year, in April.

Sick or dead birds can be reported by calling (707) 428-2002 or emailing askbdr@wildlife.ca.gov.

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