Science

Bird flu confirmed in person who had contact with infected dairy cows


Dairy cows

Shutterstock / Yuangeng Zhang

An individual within the US has contracted fowl flu from contaminated dairy cows in Texas. That is the primary confirmed case of a subtype of the virus, named H5N1, transmitting between a human and one other mammal.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced the information immediately after confirming the constructive take a look at outcomes over the weekend. The particular person, whose solely symptom is eye irritation, is on antiviral medicines and recovering. That they had been uncovered to cows believed to be contaminated with the virus, which has decimated global bird populations.

Final week, cows throughout 5 US states – Texas, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Idaho – examined constructive for H5N1. It’s unclear how they turned sick, however it now appears that the virus could also be spreading among the many animals, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Beforehand, mammals had solely been confirmed to contract the virus from sick birds. “There have been a few outbreaks that didn’t embrace people the place it’s doable there was mammal-to-mammal transmission,” says Richard Webby at St. Jude Kids’s Hospital in Tennessee. As an illustration, 17,000 baby elephant seals died from fowl flu in Argentina late final yr. There was additionally an outbreak amongst farmed mink in Spain in 2022. However it’s laborious to rule out the opportunity of different sources of the virus resembling contaminated meals in these conditions, he says.

Regardless of the latest human an infection, the CDC says the chance of contracting fowl flu stays low for most individuals. Individuals in shut contact with contaminated birds or different animals, together with livestock, have the best threat. Whereas pasteurised milk stays secure, folks ought to keep away from consuming or dealing with uncooked milk merchandise.

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