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Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals

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After proliferating globally, a historic wave of avian flu has entered Southern California, where it is worrying farmers and bird lovers and could add to complications with supply chains and food prices.

Already, poultry operations have had to euthanize domestic flocks of chickens and turkeys, while thousands of wild birds have also died. Wildlife experts say they are seeing a wave of dying birds moving south — already as far as Irvine — as the fall migration sets in.

Authorities describe the surge as “unprecedented” in scope, breadth and lethality.

In North America alone, an estimated 50 million birds have succumbed, which experts say is probably a vast undercount. And though government officials are primarily concerned about poultry farms, the epidemic has struck wild birds, too — from waterfowl to raptors and vultures.

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