Florida farm owner Taylor Blake has revealed her emu, which shot to fame after being featured in several viral videos she posts to social media, is not dying of avian flu as she previously thought, and is just stressed.
‘Emmanuel Todd Lopez tested negative for Avian Influenza at 2 separate labs, swab, fecal and blood,’ she tweeted on Saturday.
Blake even reached out to Bindi Irwin for help treating her emu, named Emmanuel Todd Lopez, but was refuted as Irwin did not believe she did not have the experience to help.
Luckily, Blake has revealed her emu has tested negative for the killer disease and the symptoms that previously plagued him, which DailyMail.com reported on, ‘all stemmed from stress.’
Florida farmer Taylor Blake has been sharing the story of her sick emu Emmanuel on social media, and has revealed he has tested negative for the deadly avian flu
Emmanuel the emu slowly recovered from what his owners now believe was extreme stress, but he was left unable to eat and drink for days
The roughly 5-foot-8, 120-pound emu faces ‘a long road ahead’ to recovery, Blake said, but insists that the lovable animal – who has been left temporarily unable to walk because of his affliction – is a ‘fighter’
‘He doesn’t have the virus, and is not actively shedding the virus. God is good! Thank you for the prayers, the kind words and the support. Always trust your intuition!’
The pair went viral on TikTok and other social media sites over the past year as viewers laughed along with the quirky bird’s antics, that included play fights and cuddles.
Blake said Emmanuel was ‘incredibly overwhelmed by the state coming in and euthanizing our flock,’ but added the euthanization was ‘necessary,’ but still ‘very stressful on him.’
Earlier this month, she explained she had lost every chicken and duck as well as many geese, turkeys and swans.
The farmer, who owns Knuckle Bump Farms in south Florida, detailed Emmanuel’s issues and where it began to go wrong.
‘He stopped eating the day they depopulated,’ she said.
‘Emus cannot afford to not eat, they rely on proper nutrition. We also did not see him drink, he isolated himself in the farthest corner of the pasture, as far away from the people wearing hazmat suits,’ she continued on Twitter.
After collapsing in the middle of the night because he was ‘so weak and dehydrated,’ Emmanuel panicked and thrashed around for hours.
Emmanuel and Taylor went viral on TikTok and other social media after she posted the bird’s hilarious antics such as intruding on her informative videos
The emu was notorious for sneaking up on Blake and attacking her phone or going after her, and his infectious personality garnered millions of views across her videos
The duo are best friends, which added to the heartbreak of Emmanuel possibly contracting avian flu, which has killed roughly 38 million birds in domestic flocks since February
Though the flightless bird was too dehydrated for the farmers to draw blood, Blake said ‘something in my gut told me this wasn’t the end for him.’
Blake also said her emu ‘never once had a single symptom of AI, other than not eating, which is often caused by stress in emus. It was just very coincidental timing.’
She added that Emmanuel was ‘tested for everything under the sun,’ and came up negative for diseases such as West Nile Virus and Chlamydia.
The farmer thanked those who sent ‘positive thoughts, prayers and good energy,’ but also took time to thank those who had less nice things to say.
‘Thank you to those of you who haven’t had anything nice to say, because it forced me deeper into my faith and made me fight even harder for Emmanuel.’
‘He is going to make a full recovery, and I will be with him every step of the way,’ she added.
While it seems the story will have a happy ending for Emmanuel, the emu’s prospects didn’t always look so rosy.
Blake sent a desperate plea to the Irwin clan after she believed Emmanuel had contracted the flu.
‘I have been a fan of your family for as long as I can remember, I am reaching out to you in total desperation right now,’ she tweeted.
She thought her beloved bird Emmanuel was the latest bird to contract the flu, prompting Taylor to send a desperate plea to the Irwin clan
Bindi responded by saying she wasn’t able to provide too much support because the team at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital had never treated birds with avian flu, but did send her ‘love and prayers’ to the farm
The Florida content creator previously posted photos showing the farm’s efforts to nurse the ailing emu back to health
‘I need help saving my emu, Emmanuel. I will pay to fly anyone to us, if they can help, no questions asked.’
Bindi Irwin responded: ‘Thank you so much for reaching out.’
‘Though our Wildlife Hospital which has treated over 100,000 animals including emus, we have never treated an emu with this particular disease,’ she added.
‘We will need to rely on our fellow animal experts with more experience with this avian flu.’
Bindi continued: ‘Our hearts are with you and we appreciate that you care so deeply and have such compassion for darling Emmanuel.’
A virus that kills up to 50% of humans… but transmission is rare: Everything you need to know about bird flu
What is bird flu?
Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among bird species but can, on rare occasions, jump to human beings.
It is an infectious disease of birds caused by a variant of the standard influenza A virus.
Bird flu is unique in that it can be transmitted directly from birds to humans.
There are 15 different strains of the virus. It is the H5N1 strain which is infecting humans and causing deaths.
Humans can catch bird flu directly through close contact with live infected birds and those who work with infected chickens are most at risk.
Like human influenza, there are many strains of bird flu:
The current outbreak in birds in the US is H5N1.
Where has it been spotted in the US?
To date, H5N1 viruses have been found in U.S. commercial and backyard birds in 29 states and in wild birds in 36 states. There is only one documented human case of HPAI in the US.
How deadly is the virus?
Fatality rates for bird flu in humans have been estimated to be as high as 50 percent.
But because transmission to humans is so rare, around 500 bird flu deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization since 1997.
Is it transmissible from birds to humans?
Cases of bird-to-human transmission are rare and usually do not spread on human-to-human.
Bird flu is spread by close contact with an infected bird or the body of one.
This can include:
- touching infected birds
- touching droppings or bedding
- killing or preparing infected poultry for cooking
Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, said: ‘Transfer of avian flu to people is rare as it requires direct contact between an infected, usually dead, bird and the individual concerned.
‘It is a risk for the handlers who are charged with the disposal of carcasses after an outbreak but the virus does not spread generally and poses little threat.
‘It does not behave like the seasonal flu we are used to.
‘Despite the current heightened concern around viruses there is no risk to chicken meat or eggs and no need for public alarm.’
Roughly 38 million birds in domestic flocks have died in Bird Flu outbreaks since early February.
A USDA tally said 780,000 birds in commercial flocks died of HPAI or were culled so far in May, compared to 1.49 million birds in February, 20.96 million in March and 14.73 million in April.
But as summer looms on the horizon, United States Department of Agriculture data suggests the threat of the spread will fade as we welcome in warmer weather.
The last detection of HPAI was during the 2014-15 epidemic, one of the worst animal disease outbreaks in US history. It caused some 43 million laying hens and pullets died along with 7.4 million turkeys.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of bird flue usually take three to five days to appear with the most common being:
- a very high temperature
- or feeling hot or shivery
- aching muscles
- a cough or shortness of breath