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Can humans contract bird flu? What CDC says about symptoms

By Vaseline May30,2024


The bird flu virus, also known as bird flu, is widespread among wild birds around the world and recently caused outbreaks in dairy cows and poultry, but is currently considered a low public health risk to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only three human cases of bird flu have been reported in this country dating back to 2022, according to data from the CDC website.

A Texas dairy worker was exposed to the virus from cows on a farm in April. Another human case was discovered in Michigan on May 22, when another dairy worker tested positive with an eye swab after the nasal swab tested negative.

Symptoms of bird flu

Both employees had eye complaints, such as an eye infection. The CDC announced that other signs and symptoms of bird flu in humans can range from mild illness, such as redness of the eyes (conjunctivitis) and mild flu-like upper respiratory symptoms, to serious illness such as pneumonia, resulting in hospitalization or high fever.

To better control the virus, the CDC has created a data monitoring page that shows all the people who have been tested and monitored, wastewater monitoring, and a map showing the range of positive tests in different regions for wild birds, cows and humans.

The disease has not yet spread from person to person and the current health risk is low. Because this is a strain that humans have never encountered before and is potentially contagious, there are concerns about how dangerous this virus could be to humans.

Guidance has been offered to workers on personal protective equipment to reduce exposure to bird flu for those associated with livestock, poultry and dairy farms.

Bird flu in NJ

This particular variant of bird flu has been documented since the 1990s, but a mutation has made the disease even more contagious as it has spread to the US, as well as Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and different areas in Africa. .

Not only is the disease spreading among wild birds, but now dairy cows have also been reported to be infected with the disease. 67 dairy herds are affected in nine states, but none in New Jersey. The only state along the East Coast with reported infected cows is North Carolina.

Meanwhile, poultry outbreaks have occurred in 48 states, infecting more than 92 million people. In Iowa, more than four million infected chickens had to be culled.

The last chicken flock outbreak in New Jersey was in September 2023 in Union County, where 520 chickens contracted the disease at the Live Bird Market. According to CDC reports, four other infected flocks occurred in 2022.

In New Jersey, 78 wild birds were infected with the 2022 bird flu, and three birds from Ocean County were recently discovered with the disease in April.

The CDC recommends people stay away from wild birds and only view them from a distance. Several other health authorities warn against drinking unpasteurized milk, which puts you at risk for the virus. Commercial milk products are considered safe, as are milk-based products such as sour cream.

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