June 16, 2024
bird flu

Person diagnosed with bird flu after exposure to infected cows in Texas

A recent case in Texas has brought to light the presence of bird flu in the state, with health officials confirming that a person has been diagnosed with the infection after coming into contact with dairy cows carrying the virus.

According to Texas health officials, the patient is currently undergoing treatment with antiviral medication, with the only reported symptom being redness in the eye. It was revealed that the individual had been in proximity to cows believed to be infected with bird flu, but the public health risk is considered to be low.

This particular case is the first documented instance worldwide of a person contracting this strain of bird flu from a mammal, as highlighted by federal health authorities. Despite this development, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission or any cases of individuals becoming infected through the consumption of milk or meat from livestock, as explained by Dr. Nirav Shah, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genetic analysis has not indicated any increased ease of transmission or severity of illness associated with the virus, and current antiviral medications are still effective in combating the infection, Shah reassured.

Recent reports had surfaced about the detection of bird flu in dairy cows in Texas and Kansas, with subsequent confirmation of infections in a Michigan dairy herd that had received cows from Texas. Fortunately, none of the cows affected by the virus have succumbed to it, according to Shah.

Since 2020, the bird flu virus has been observed spreading among diverse animal species globally, while the identification of the virus in U.S. livestock represents a concerning development, noted Dr. Ali Khan, an expert in public health. The threat posed by bird flu to humans was first recognized during an outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997, with over 460 deaths attributed to bird flu infections over the past two decades, according to the World Health Organization.

The individual in Texas who contracted bird flu has not been publicly identified, with no information disclosed about the circumstances leading to the exposure to the infected cows. The CDC has advised against testing individuals without symptoms, although around a dozen symptomatic individuals in Texas were tested in connection with the dairy cow infections, only one of whom tested positive, Shah confirmed.

This incident represents the second case in the United States where an individual has been diagnosed with the Type A H5N1 virus, with the previous case occurring in a prison inmate in Colorado in 2022. The prison inmate had contracted the virus while handling infected birds on a poultry farm and experienced fatigue as the sole symptom, making a full recovery.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it