Health News

Avian Flu Spreads Across US, Health Experts on High Alert

Visual Representation for virus causing Avian Flu | Credits: CDC

United States: Bird Flu, which is scientifically known as H5N1 or avian flu, has become a big threat and now the concerns and worries of the health experts have increased because there are high chances that the infection could spread among humans also. 

Health experts have outlined that the chances of spreading the infection among humans have increased because the cases of the infection have been infecting the cows of the US, which can lead to the spread of the disease to humans through the nation’s milk supply. 

The official data has revealed that bird flu has spread among 90 million chickens, over 9,000 wild birds, approximately 34 dairy herds, and one person in Texas since the year 2022. Along with this, the authorities have claimed that during the current times, the nation has witnessed a large number of outbreaks associated with bird flu, according to the reports published by Reuters.

Representation for Bird Flu Infection | Credits: iStock

According to the health authorities, the nation has witnessed approximately eight (8) outbreaks during the month of April 2024. On April 26, Colorado marked its status as the ninth state in the United States to officially document an afflicted bovine group.

April 25 bore witness to Colombia pioneering as the inaugural nation to impose limitations on the intake of bovine and bovine derivatives hailing from US regions, prompted by the avian influenza found in dairy cattle.

The preceding day, April 24, the US administration announced its mandate for the mandatory screening of dairy bovines during interstate transport, aimed at detecting avian flu cases.

April 23 saw the revelation by the US Food and Drug Administration of avian influenza viral components in select batches of pasteurized milk. However, the assurance was extended that the commercial milk supply remains unaffected due to the process of pasteurization.

Turning the clock back to April 11, South Dakota joined the roster as the eighth state in the US to confirm avian flu presence in a dairy cattle grouping. This announcement followed prior reports from North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Idaho, and New Mexico as flagged by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

A fortnight earlier, on April 4, the outbreak of avian influenza among dairy cows widened its grip to include a dairy herd in Ohio.

April 2 saw Mexico’s agricultural department announcing preemptive actions aimed at bolstering surveillance and reinforcing scrutiny of US livestock imports post the detection of bird flu in dairy cattle.

Representation for Bird Flu Testing | Credits: Reuters

On April 1, the emergence of the second documented human case of avian influenza in the United States surfaced, with the individual in question hailing from Texas and having come into contact with presumed infected dairy cows.

The detection of the virus spanned across dairy cattle in New Mexico, Michigan, Idaho, as well as Texas and Kansas.

It is believed that the first-ever outbreak was reported on February 9, 2022, of, highly pathogenic flu in an Indiana turkey flock. According to the reports, it was considered to be the first case in a commercial poultry operation since 2020. Following this, an outbreak was reported on March 4 in a commercial flock of chickens, which led to the spread of the virus to approximately ten (10) commercial chicken and turkey farms in four (4) US states. 

After the same, commercial outbreaks were reported on March 7 and April 29, 2022, followed by an outbreak among the commercial flock of breeding chickens on October 7, 2022. It is to be noted that the health officials mentioned that the outbreaks continued till December 2023. 

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