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Dairy cow and milk.

4th human case of bird flu reported; CDC to discuss outbreak on July 16 call with clinicians

July 3, 2024

A fourth human case of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus has been identified, this time in Colorado, following a previous case reported in Texas and two cases in Michigan.

Each case involves a worker on a dairy farm where cows tested positive for the H5N1 virus. In the most recent case, the person reported eye symptoms only, received oseltamivir treatment and has recovered.

The human cases come as the virus is widespread among wild birds and continues to cause outbreaks in poultry and spillover to mammals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the current human health risk assessment for the general public remains low. However, people who have job-related or recreational exposure to infected birds or animals, including dairy cattle, are at greater risk of H5N1 infection.

The CDC will host a webinar for clinicians and health care centers from 2-3 p.m. EDT July 16 to give an update on the outbreak in the United States and discuss CDC surveillance and monitoring efforts.

The CDC continues to monitor influenza surveillance systems, particularly in affected states. The agency says there has been no unusual influenza activity in people, including in syndromic surveillance.

People with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals, including livestock, or to environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals, are at greater risk of infection. The CDC recommends personal protective equipment, including respiratory and eye protection, should be worn by people with direct or close contact with sick or dead animals, including poultry, wild birds, backyard bird flocks or other animals, animal feces, litter or potentially contaminated materials.

The AAP, CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all recommend against consuming raw, or unpasteurized, milk products. The CDC also recommends cooking poultry, eggs and beef to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria and viruses. Earlier this year, the FDA reaffirmed its report showing no evidence of live H5N1 virus in a sampling of commercial, pasteurized milk products.

Latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows 139 confirmed cases of H5N1 in livestock herds across 12 states.



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