Third person in US tests positive for bird flu in connection to outbreak in dairy cattle | CNN (2024)

Third person in US tests positive for bird flu in connection to outbreak in dairy cattle | CNN (1)

A third person in the US has tested positive for an H5 bird flu virus, health officials announced Thursday.


Athird person in the UShas tested positive for H5 bird flu in connection to an ongoing outbreak in dairy cattle, theMichigan Department of Health and Human Servicessaid Thursday.This is the second human case reported in the state and the fourth ever in the US.

This time, in addition to some of the eye symptoms seen with previous H5N1 cases, the farmworkerreported a cough and other respiratory symptomsthataremore typical of human influenza infections, the health department said.

“This individual had respiratory symptoms, including a cough, congestion, sore throat and watery eyes,” Dr. Nirav Shah, the principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a briefing Thursday.

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of avian influenza A H5N1 virus particles (gold), grown in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. CDC/NIAID Related article Alpacas test positive for H5N1 bird flu for the first time

“What the respiratory symptoms tell us, more than anything, is that this virus, like many viruses, can present in more than one way, and for that reason, we should remain alert, not be alarmed,” he added.

Experts said that the addition of respiratory symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate that the virus has become more dangerous or that it may transmit more easily from person to person.Instead, they say, the person probably developed lung symptoms because of the route of infection, perhaps by breathing in infectious aerosols in the milking parlor instead of rubbing their eyes with contaminated hands.

“With the first case in Michigan, eye symptoms occurred after a direct splash of infected milk to the eye. With this case, respiratory symptoms occurred after direct exposure to an infected cow,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chiefmedicalexecutive for Michigan, said in a news release. “Neither individual was wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). This tells us that direct exposure to infected livestock poses a risk to humans, and that PPE is an important tool in preventing spread among individuals who work on dairy and poultry farms. We have not seen signs of sustained human-to-human transmission, and the current health risk to the general public remains low.”

About 220 people are being monitored in Michigan because of potential exposure to the virus, Shah said.

Michigan, the state with the highest number of dairy herds reported to be infected, is also beginning to conduct blood testing to see how many workers may have antibodies to the H5N1 virus, which would reflect past infections or exposures.

The CDC agreed that the risk to the general public remains low. But this case highlights the elevated risk to those who work with infected animals.

Dairy cows stand together at a farm, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Clinton, Maine. Federal health and agriculture officials pledged new spending and other efforts Friday, May 10, 2024, to help track and contain an outbreak of bird flu in the nation's dairy cows that has spread to more than 40 herds in nine states. Robert F. Bukaty/AP Related article Meat from condemned dairy cow tested positive for H5N1 flu virus but did not enter food supply, USDA says

The CDC has recommended that dairy workers wear personal protective equipment to reduce their risk. The US Department of Agriculture has offered financial support to farms with infected animals to provide workers with protection.

“Previously, we focused on the importance of eye protection, given the conjunctivitis in the first two cases, but this case also underscores the importance of barrier protection, things like masks and other forms of protection for dairy workers, particularly those who are working with affected cows,” Shah said.

Research is ongoing into how infections are transmitting between cows and from cows to people who work with them.

This is the third human infection known to be caused by this highly pathogenic form of avian influenza that’s currently infecting dairy cattle in the US. None of the three people had contact with each other, but all worked with cattle, suggesting that they are instances of cow-to-human transmission. The other two cases involved eye infections, or conjunctivitis. The most recent worker had some mild eye symptoms but was not diagnosed with conjunctivitis.

The person had direct contact with infected cattleand notified local health officials that they were feeling sick.Their symptoms are described as mild.

The patient has been given the antiviral medication oseltamivir, the same active ingredient as Tamiflu, and they are isolating at home. Their family members have not developed symptoms, but they have also been offered antiviral medication as a precaution. None of the other workers at the dairy farm has gotten sick, and they are being monitored, the CDC said.

“Given the high magnitude of interactions between people and dairy cows as well as with contaminated milking equipment, it is unsurprising that there are more human infections,” said Dr. Seema Lakdawala, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University who is studying how the virus is transmitting in dairy barns.

“Every time the virus is able to replicate in a person, there is the potential for the virus to adapt to humans and gain molecular features for replication in the respiratory tract and to spread person-to-person,” Lakdawala said.

Flu viruses are classified by two of the proteins that sit on their outer envelopes: H, or hemagglutinin, proteins and N, neuraminidase, proteins. CDC testing has confirmed that this third person carries a flu virus with an H5 protein, and the agency will do further sequencing to determine whether the N portion of the virus is N1, as is suspected. It expects to have those results in the next few days.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday night that the person had an H5 influenza infection and forwarded the results to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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    The US Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it was moving forward with a plan to repackage 4.8 million doses of a vaccine against H5N1 that is stored in bulk form in the Strategic National Stockpile. The bulk supplies would be put into multidose vials so they could be distributed and administered more easily.

    Officials said Thursday that before the vaccine would be given, it would need to go through certain regulatory steps. They also said there’s not currently a plan to offer or recommend the doses to any specific group of people.

    The fill-and-finish process to repackage the vaccines will take at least a couple of months, officials said in the news briefing.

    In the meantime, Michigan’s health department is advising people working on poultry or dairy farms to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

    “It will not prevent infection with avian influenza viruses, but it can reduce the risk of coinfection with avian and flu viruses,” the department said.

    Third person in US tests positive for bird flu in connection to outbreak in dairy cattle | CNN (2024)


    Third person in US tests positive for bird flu in connection to outbreak in dairy cattle | CNN? ›

    A third person in the US has tested positive for H5 bird flu in connection to an ongoing outbreak in dairy cattle, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. This is the second human case reported in the state and the fourth ever in the US.

    How many people in the US have the bird flu? ›

    Can humans get bird flu? Yes, but the risk in the U.S. is still very low, federal officials reiterated in a Thursday briefing. They say the public should be “alert but not alarmed.” Since it arrived during the winter of 2021-2022, four people have tested positive in the U.S.

    Can humans get bird flu from milk? ›

    Based on the limited research and information available, we do not know at this time if the HPAI H5N1 virus can be transmitted to humans through consumption of raw milk and products made from raw milk from infected cows.

    How to protect yourself from bird flu? ›

    People should avoid direct contact with wild birds and other animals infected with or suspected to be infected with avian influenza A viruses. If you must have direct/close contact with infected or potentially infected birds or other animals, wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE).

    Does bird flu spread from person to person? ›

    Humans can have contact with avian flu virus when a person touches a surface with virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also be inhaled from droplets or dust in the air. The spread of avian flu virus from one infected person to another is very rare.

    How rare is it for a human to get bird flu? ›

    Avian flu viruses rarely infect humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that from 2003 to April 1, 2024, 23 countries reported a total of 889 human cases of H5N1.

    When was the bird flu outbreak in the US? ›

    Birds Affected

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) viruses have been detected in U.S. wild aquatic birds, commercial poultry and backyard or hobbyist flocks beginning in January 2022. These are the first detections of HPAI A(H5) viruses in the U.S. since 2016.

    Do dairy cows have the bird flu? ›

    Avian influenza virus type A (H5N1) has been confirmed in dairy cattle in 12 states: 25 herds in Michigan, 22 in Idaho, 18 in Texas, 10 in Colorado, eight in New Mexico, five in South Dakota, four in Kansas, three each in Minnesota and Iowa, and one each in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wyoming.

    Are eggs safe to eat bird flu? ›

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations says that there is no evidence that anyone has been infected with the avian flu by eating properly cooked eggs. Cooking eggs to 160°F (71°C) will kill the avian flu virus. The recommendation for cooking eggs well is supported.

    Is the bird flu in the milk supply? ›

    A larger survey of 297 milk products, including cottage cheese and sour cream, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, found viral RNA from the H5N1 bird flu in about 20% of samples. The presence of viral genetic fragments is not believed to represent a risk to human health.

    Do masks protect against bird flu? ›

    The agency is asking states to make personal protection equipment available as more information comes to light about the transmission of the virus.

    What cleaner kills bird flu? ›

    Additional Information
    Registration NumberActive Ingredient(s)Product Name
    69687-1Sodium HypochloriteMicro-Kill Bleach Germicidal Bleach Wipes
    70627-72Sodium hypochloriteAvert Sporicidal Disinfectant Cleaner
    70627-77Hydrogen peroxideOxivir 1 Wipes
    70627-83Hydrogen peroxideAlpha - HP 5
    51 more rows
    Apr 19, 2024

    How do you get rid of bird flu in humans? ›

    Treatment with the antiviral medicine oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) may make the disease less severe. For the medicine to work, you need to start taking it within 48 hours after your symptoms start. Oseltamivir may also be prescribed for people who live in the same house as people with avian flu.

    What temperature kills the avian flu virus? ›

    Poultry and other animal foods should be safe to eat as long as they are prepared properly, according to the CDC. This includes cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165°F, which can kill viruses, including H5N1.

    How long does it take to show symptoms of bird flu in humans? ›

    Bird flu symptoms can be mild to serious in a person. Symptoms typically show up within seven days of contact with the virus but can take as long as two weeks. A person can get infected from direct contact with an infected animal, or the bedding or stool of the animal. Flu viruses have similar symptoms.

    Can dogs get bird flu? ›

    Yes. There have been a handful of cases, including serious ones, reported in dogs. In the spring of 2023, a dog in Ottawa was infected with H5N1 and died “after chewing on a wild goose,” according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

    Which country has the most bird flu? ›

    Egypt has been the most affected country in the EMR where the disease has remained endemic, with frequent epizootic and 167 human cases that include 60 deaths. Symptoms of infection in humans include cough, muscle aches, runny nose and sore throat.

    What is the death rate of the bird flu? ›

    “In the long term, in the coming years or decades, however, I'm much more concerned.” He gives two reasons: One is that there has been a mortality (or death) rate of about 50% in the almost 900 people around the world who have been infected with bird flu between 2003 and 2024.

    How bad is the bird flu this year? ›

    H5N1 bird flu is widespread in wild birds worldwide and is causing outbreaks in poultry and U.S. dairy cows with one recent human case in a U.S. dairy worker. While the current public health risk is low, CDC is watching the situation carefully and working with states to monitor people with animal exposures.

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