CSAC Bulletin Article

CDC Issues Health Advisory on H5N1 Bird Flu in US

April 11, 2024

On Friday April 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert network health advisory  after a person in Texas tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus (“H5N1 bird flu”). This is only the second confirmed human case of H5N1 bird flu in the United States; the first was in a poultry worker in Colorado in 2022. The CDC alert indicates the current risk to the general public remains low.

According to the CDC, this person in Texas worked with dairy cows presumably infected with H5N1 bird flu viruses. This new case is associated with a multi-state veterinary outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in U.S. dairy cows. This case occurs amid ongoing outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in U.S. poultry, sporadic infections in a growing number of animal species, and widespread circulation of this virus in wild birds globally. According to the CDC, there is no sign of person-to-person spread of this virus at this time.

While the CDC believes the current risk to the general public remains low, people with close or long 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 has provided a list of recommended protective actions for prevention, monitoring, and public health investigations, including specific recommendations for farmers; poultry, backyard flock, and livestock owners; and worker protection.

As reported, this is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation that the CDC is following closely.

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