Lake Eola swan deaths: City of Orlando says all 4 swans died from bird flu

An investigation into the deaths of four swans at Lake Eola has revealed that two of the four swans died from the bird flu. 

Over the last two weeks, City of Orlando staff have discovered several dead swans – all different species of swan – at Lake Eola, the spokesperson said in an email to FOX 35.

According to the city, necropsies done on the two Black-necked swans, a royal mute swan and an Australian black swan, revealed that they tested positive for Avian Influenza. 

Most recently, two black-necked swans were found dead at Lake Eola over the weekend and they both also tested positive for the bird flu.

A Black-necked swan (Cygnus melancoryphus) in a bay at Chacao on Chiloe Island, Chile. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"The city was concerned of potential criminal activity related to one of the swans and immediately contacted (the Orlando Police Department), who opened an investigation. The city also sent these two swans out for necropsies, and we are awaiting those results," the spokesperson said.


Due to the presence of avian influenza at Lake Eola, the City of Orlando is taking all necessary precautions recommended by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local veterinarians to keep the area safe and prevent the spread. 

Pair of Australian black swans (Photo by Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

"In an abundance of caution, the city has proactively disinfected multiple surfaces throughout the park and will continue to do so during this time. The city has also advised its staff to take further precautions, such as washing shoes, uniforms and equipment, like bike tires," the spokesperson said. 

Based on the size of Lake Eola, FWC officials recommend allowing the bird flu to "run its course," the city said. 

"Some birds may build immunity and estimate a month of dissipation of infections," the statement continued. "The city will continue to actively track, monitor and report any new infections to FWC and remain vigilant in our efforts related to disinfecting the park."

A mute swan at the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, south west London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)

Swans are known residents of Orlando's Lake Eola. According to the city, there are five species of swans that reside in and around the lake, and they're cared for by swan veterinarians annually. 

"The swans have access to supplemental food through feeders in the lake and on the shore," the City of Orlando said. "They can also be fed lettuce, spinach, and duck pellet food found in the parks. Any other foods could be detrimental to their health, ultimately making the swans ill."

How to stay safe at Lake Eola

Here are a few guidelines from the City of Orlando:

  • Avoid direct contact with the birds at Lake Eola Park and only observe them from a distance. This goes for both people and pets at the park
  • Additionally, park goers should avoid contact with any excrement from birds
  • It’s recommended that people remove their shoes when entering one's home and cleaning them off if contamination is suspected

Can bird flu be transmitted to humans?

Although not common, avian influenza can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human infections can happen when the virus gets into a person's eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. 

"This can happen when virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or possibly when a person touches something that has virus on it then touches their mouth, eyes or nose," the CDC said. 

Most people get bird flu from touching sick birds or infected things, but some people get it even if they don't touch birds. It's rare for it to spread from one person to another, but the CDC continues to watch out for any changes in the virus that could make it spread more easily between people.

Can bird flu be transmitted to dogs, cats?

According to the CDC, if your dog, cat or other domestic animal goes outside and could potentially eat or be exposed to sick or dead birds infected with the bird flu, they could become infected. 

"While it’s unlikely that you would get sick with bird flu through direct contact with your infected pet, it is possible. For example, in 2016, the spread of bird flu from a cat to a person was reported in (New York City)," the CDC said. 

Bird flu symptoms

The CDC says that reported signs and symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from no symptoms at all or mild illness to severe. 

Here are some symptoms of avian influenza, according to the CDC:

  • Eye redness
  • Mild flu-like upper respiratory symptoms
  • Pneumonia
  • Fever
  • Feeling feverish
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Less common: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or seizures

Click here for more information about avian influenza.