TikTok Star Emmanuel the Emu and Knuckle Bump Farms Struck by Avian Flu

Emmanuel the emu became famous when his owner’s TikTok videos went viral showing the 120-pound bird attacking her camera while she filmed educational videos.

Hobby farmer Taylor Blake announced on Saturday that Knuckle Bump Farms in south Florida had been devastated by an outbreak of Avian Influence, losing 99% of their birds — more than 50 — over three days. Only Emmanuel and Rico the swan had survived.

“The virus hit them extremely hard and very quickly,” Blake wrote on Twitter as she described the extent of her family farm’s loss: “Every single” chicken, duck, goose, female black swan and turkey at the farm died in just three days.

Blake said she blames a flock of wild geese for spreading the disease among her domesticated birds, as the U.S. struggles with a deadly months-long outbreak.

The virus spreads through saliva and feces, and has different effects on birds, killing some with no symptoms and others experiencing neurological damage, including seizures. Emmanuel was struck with nerve damage.

The CDC says risk of the disease spreading to humans is low, but it can happen. In April a Colorado individual contracted the disease after culling a herd suspected of having the virus. The individual experienced symptoms but recovered.

Blake said Florida officials told her that standing water from Hurricane Ian had made the virus run rampant.

Washington Post, Daily Beast