Avian Flu threat grows: Second human case confirmed in U.S., first in Texas - Hindustan Times
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Avian Flu threat grows: Second human case confirmed in U.S., first in Texas

ByAditi Srivastava
Apr 02, 2024 08:40 AM IST

Texas reports first case of highly pathogenic Avian Flu in humans, CDC assures safety of dairy products

The threat of Avian Flu, also known as bird flu, is expanding as the U.S. confirms a second human case. Texas authorities reported that a person in the state has contracted the flu after coming into close contact with infected cows. The news comes a week after the USDA confirmed bird flu cases in mammals in three U.S. states: Washington, Kentucky, and Montana.

Officials of the wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh’s forest department collecting samples of the dead migratory birds at the Pong Dam wetland in January when the avian flu outbreak claimed the lives of more than 5,000 birds. (HT file photo)
Officials of the wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh’s forest department collecting samples of the dead migratory birds at the Pong Dam wetland in January when the avian flu outbreak claimed the lives of more than 5,000 birds. (HT file photo)

The first human case of avian flu in Texas confirmed

On April 1, the Texas department of state health services announced that a patient was diagnosed with avian influenza after coming into contact with dairy cows that were believed to be infected with the virus. The patient's primary symptom was "pink eye," a condition known as conjunctivitis. However, according to TDSHS, “The new case, which involved direct exposure with suspected infected cattle, does not change the risk for the general public, which remains low.”

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Second Avian Flu case in US

The Texas official stated that this was the first reported case of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza in humans in the state and the second in the U.S. after an individual in Colorado was reported to be infected with H5N1 after direct contact with infected poultry.

Avian flu cases in mammals raise concern

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently issued a joint statement on March 29th. They stated that there is no safety concern regarding dairy products in the United States. The agencies explained that pasteurization, which is done before the sale of these products, is sufficient to ensure their safety. Previously, US officials had warned the public about the risk of an increase in the number of cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) circulating among marine mammals.

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Can humans contract Avian Flu?

So far, there have been two confirmed cases of avian flu in humans, but the chances of a widespread outbreak remain low. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the majority of human infections caused by avian influenza viruses around the world have been due to the Asian lineage of the bird flu virus (H7N9) and the highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus.

Symptoms of Avian Flu in humans

Symptoms of Avian Flu in humans include mild fever, conjunctivitis, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headaches, and in some cases, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

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