July 25, 2024

Health Advisory Issued For Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

A health advisory has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, otherwise known as bird flu. One person has been infected.

Health Advisory Issued For Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

The person got sick after exposure to allegedly infected dairy cattle. The virus has been found in U.S. dairy cattle in multiple states. The farm worker was an employee at a commercial dairy farm in Texas.

The patient reported conjunctivitis with no other symptoms, was not hospitalized and is recovering. The patient isolated and received antiviral treatment, while family members received oseltamivir for post-exposure prophylaxis according to CDC recommendations.

The patient specimen was compared to the viral sequences from cattle, and lacks changes that would make it better adapted to infect mammals. No markers known to be resistant to antiviral drugs were found in the patient’s specimen.

This person is the second person to test positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus in the United States. The first case was reported in April 2022 in Colorado in a person who had contact with poultry.

This virus is currently circulating among wild birds in the United States, with outbreaks occurring among poultry and backyard flocks. Some sporadic infections in mammals have been reported. The current risk to the public remains low, but people with exposure to infected birds, cattle, or other animals are at higher risk and should take precautions as outlined in the CDC Recommendations.

People should avoid unprotected exposure to dead or sick animals including wild birds, poultry, other domesticated birds, and other wild and domesticated animals. In addition, avoid exposure to animal feces, litter, or materials contaminated by those sick or dead animals. Finally, do not prepare or eat uncooked or undercooked food or related food products, such as raw milk or raw cheeses, from animals with suspected or confirmed virus infection.

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