What we know about the latest case of bird flu in one person

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BBird flu, or bird flu, can be deadly to birds, but it doesn’t typically infect people. While some strains have caused serious illness and even death in humans, most cause relatively mild symptoms.

In the USA, two people they are known to be infected with bird flu: one person in 2022 and another at the beginning of this year. In a report published Friday in New England Journal of Medicine—amid growing concern about infections jumping from poultry to cows—health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas Department of State Health Services provide details on the latest human case .

According to the report, a dairy farm worker in Texas developed redness and some drainage in his right eye in late March. Because the Texas Animal Health Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported In late March, when bird flu viruses were detected on two dairy farms in Texas and two in Kansas, area veterinarians were on alert for symptoms of infection in sick cows and people. A veterinarian referred the dairy for testing at a Texas Department of State Health Services field office, according to a department spokesperson. He did not develop a fever or difficulty breathing – which are among the possible symptoms of infection – and his vision remained normal. Dr. Scott Milton, the department’s regional health director, took swabs from the worker’s eyes and throat, and these were analyzed at Texas Tech’s Bioterrorism Response Laboratory in Lubbock, where preliminary results were positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A and A (H5).

see more information: Is it safe to eat eggs and chicken during the bird flu outbreak?

Health authorities advised the man to isolate himself at home and prescribed antiviral medication. oseltamivir for five days for him as well as his family members to protect them from infection. So far, there have been no reports of sustained person-to-person spread of bird flu, but antiviral medications have been prescribed with great caution. The redness on your the eyes disappeared after several days and the worker never developed breathing problems.

Additional analysis of worker samples by investigators at CDC laboratories in Atlanta confirmed the specific type of avian influenza involved, GAAP A(H5N1), which has recently been detected in poultry and cattle populations. These strains of bird flu generally circulate among avian species, but there have been cases of human infections reported in 23 countries over the past 20 years, according to the new report. Overall, the virus has a 50% mortality rate – but this may reflect a skewed population of people with immune systems that are more susceptible and vulnerable to infection, as many cases lead to mild or no symptoms, or to severe symptoms. who are not notified.

The strain in the dairy worker was “closely related” to those found in dairy cattle and poultry in Texas at that time, according to the NEJM report. But the genetic analysis was a mix of reassuring and worrying news. The strain that infected the dairy has a change that helps it adapt to infecting mammals, including people. But it does not contain changes that make it resistant to current antiviral treatments. The virus is also close enough to the versions that researchers have used to create vaccine candidates that could become available if the virus began to spread from person to person, which it has not yet happened.

see more information: Experts Can’t Agree on Whether We’re Still in a Pandemic

Health officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continue to test milk, cottage cheese, sour cream and beef to monitor the virus. While around 20% milk sold in stores contains fragments of the bird flu virus, these viruses are not active, according to the latest FDA tests. The agency states that the pasteurization process is designed to kill viruses like HPAI and therefore advises against consuming any unpasteurized dairy products, such as raw milk.

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