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CDC Remains Vigilant After Second Human Case of Avian Flu Emerges in the US

Visual Representation | Credits: Reuters

United States: The concerns and worries of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are heightened after second human case has been reported in the United States. The health agency has outlined that even after ten (10) days of the second human case the tensions related to the spread of avian flu among humans remain the same.

Since its initial impact on a commercial poultry flock on US soil in early 2022, avian flu has wielded significant influence, affecting 85.8 million birds across 48 states.

The USDA asserts its possession of the world’s most robust avian influenza surveillance program. Moreover, the flu has claimed the lives of 9,253 wild birds in 50 jurisdictions.

Lately, the CDC has adopted the use of colorful illustrations to disseminate its message that “Infected poultry possess the potential to transmit avian flu to humans. Incidences of human infections caused by bird flu viruses are infrequent yet conceivable,” according to Food Safety News.

Visual Representation

The CDC’s “measures for safeguarding individuals” encompass the following recommendations:

+ Refrain from direct interaction with wild birds, observing them solely from a distance.

+ Abstain from any contact with deceased birds and promptly report any instances of sick or deceased birds.

+ Implement protective measures around other animals suspected of harboring HSN1 avian flu.

+ Consumables remain safe for consumption when appropriately handled and cooked.

+ The CDC has not instituted any travel restrictions stemming from the avian flu crisis.

+ Inoculation with seasonal flu vaccines diminishes the likelihood of falling ill due to avian flu.

+ The two instances of human avian flu occurrences were separated by several months, involving a poultry laborer from Colorado and an employee at a Texas dairy farm. Both individuals made a full recovery.

+ Local health authorities are being advised to remain vigilant for additional occurrences.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service verified the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) within a commercial flock in the United States on February 8, 2022, as per Food Safety News.

Subsequently, APHIS has been diligently engaged in identifying, addressing detections, and mitigating the virus’s ramifications on US poultry production and trade.

Detections exhibit an uptick during the autumn and spring seasons as migratory birds perpetuate the spread of the virus en route to their seasonal habitats. APHIS maintains close collaboration with the States.

To provide a perspective on the overall scale of the US poultry population, more than 368.2 million egg-laying chickens exist in the United States. According to USDA data from 2022, over 9.5 billion broiler chickens and 208 million turkeys were processed in the United States.

Visual Representation | Credits: AP Photo

During meetings, the CDC has instructed state officials to ensure the currency of their bird flu operational strategies.

The latest human case of avian flu in the US incorporates the following particulars:

An individual in Texas tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus (“H5N1 bird flu”). This marks only the second instance of H5N1 bird flu in the United States; the initial occurrence involved a poultry laborer in Colorado in 2022.

This Texas individual worked with dairy cows presumably infected with H5N1 bird flu viruses.

This constitutes the inaugural detection of this virus in cows and would signify the primary occurrence of cow-to-human transmission of bird flu. Infected dairy herds have been documented in eight states since the initial confirmation in Texas, Food Safety News mentioned.

CDC has sequenced the influenza virus genome from a patient in Texas and juxtaposed it with other sequenced H5N1 viruses. The virus isolated from this individual bears remarkable similarity to those found in cows and birds in Texas. There are no alterations indicative of resistance to antiviral medications, and the virus bears close resemblance to two extant candidate vaccine viruses.

Currently, there is no indication of person-to-person dissemination of this virus.

This represented an unfolding and rapidly evolving scenario that CDC is closely monitoring. CDC posits that the overall risk posed by this virus to the general populace remains low.

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