Fourth human case of bird flu connected to dairy cattle outbreak identified in the US | CNN (2024)

Fourth human case of bird flu connected to dairy cattle outbreak identified in the US | CNN (1)

Colorado health officials have identified the state's first human case of avian flu in in connection to an ongoing dairy cattle outbreak.


A fourth person in the United States has tested positive for H5 bird flu in connection to an ongoing outbreak among dairy cattle across the country.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Wednesday that it has identified the state’s first human case of H5 avian influenza associated with the multistate outbreak of the virus in dairy cattle. This case is the fourth identified nationally in connection to the outbreak; two other human cases have been reported in Michigan and one in Texas.

Bottles of raw milk are displayed for sale at a store in Temecula, Calif., on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (AP Photo/JoNel Aleccia) JoNel Aleccia/AP Related article FDA finds H5N1 bird flu in half of tested samples but confirms flash pasteurization kills virus

More than a quarter of dairy herds in Colorado have reported cases of bird flu, according to data from the state health department. As of Wednesday, federaldatashows that seven states have confirmed cases in the past 30 days, and 40% of them are in Colorado — more than any other state.

The infected person in Colorado had mild symptoms, reporting only conjunctivitis, or pink eye, as a symptom, according to state health officials. He worked at a dairy farm in northeast Colorado and had direct exposure to dairy cattle infected with avian flu.

After testing positive,the man was treated immediately with the antiviral medication oseltamivir, and he has recovered, according to the state health department.

“The risk to most people remains low. Avian flu viruses are currently spreading among animals, but they are not adapted to spread from person to person. Right now, the most important thing to know is that people who have regular exposure to infected animals are at increased risk of infection and should take precautions when they have contact with sick animals,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist at the CDPHE, said in Wednesday’s announcement. The last human case ofH5N1 in Colorado was in 2022in a person who was exposed to infected poultry.

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 26: Cows graze in a field at a dairy farm on April 26, 2024 in Petaluma, California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ordering dairy producers to test cows that produce milk for infections from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI H5N1) before the animals are transported to a different state following the discovery of the virus in samples of pasteurized milk taken by the Food and Drug Administration. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Related article US government inks a deal with Moderna to make pandemic flu vaccine

In the current outbreak connected to infected dairy cattle, the first two human cases identified in the United States also reported eye-related symptoms and eye infections or conjunctivitis. The third human case in the US reported more respiratory symptoms, such as cough, congestion, sore throat and watery eyes. None of those three people had contact with each other, but all worked with cattle, suggesting that they are instances of cow-to-human transmission of the virus.

On the national level, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that it continues to monitor the situation carefully, using its flu surveillance systems to watch for H5N1 activity in people. The agency said Wednesday that the human case in Colorado “does not change CDC’s current H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which the agency considers to be low.”

However, the case “underscores the importance ofrecommended precautionsin people with exposure to infected animals,” according to the CDC. “People with close or prolonged, 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 repeatedlyhas recommendedthat dairy workers wear personal protective equipment to reduce their risk. The US Department of Agriculture has offered financial support to farms with infected animals to provide workers with protection. Research is ongoing into how infections are transmitting between cows and from cows to people who work with them.

Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

CDC officials said Tuesday that the United States has enough H5 bird flu tests to respond to the outbreak.

“We have an ample number of H5-specific tests in the public health system for the current outbreak. As of right now, there are roughly 750,000 H5-specific tests available today and another 1.2 million such tests coming online in the next two to three months,” Dr. Nirav Shah, principal deputy director of the CDC, said at a news conference Tuesday.

“This is on top of a robust supply of influenza A tests, the general tests that are available at doctor’s offices around the country,” Shah said. “The way that our system works is such that if someone tests positive for influenza A at the doctor’s office, their specimen is sent to a public health laboratory for what’s called subtyping. That tells us if the influenza A virus is a common seasonal one, or a rarer version like H5N1. That subtyping happens more commonly than you might think.”

CNN’s Deidre McPhilips contributed to this report.

Fourth human case of bird flu connected to dairy cattle outbreak identified in the US | CNN (2024)


Fourth human case of bird flu connected to dairy cattle outbreak identified in the US | CNN? ›

July 3, 2024 – A human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) (“H5 bird flu”) virus infection in the United States has been identified in the state of Colorado. This is the fourth case associated with an ongoing multistate outbreak of A(H5N1) in dairy cows and the first in Colorado.

What is the current US bird flu situation in humans? ›

While the current public health risk is low, CDC is watching the situation carefully and working with states to monitor people with animal exposures. CDC is using its flu surveillance systems to monitor for H5 bird flu activity in people.

What was the worst animal disease outbreak in US history? ›

The culprit is highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. It has ravaged farm flocks and chicken yards in 46 states since February, when the first cases were reported in commercial flocks. It's the worst toll on the poultry industry since 2014-2015, when more than 50 million birds died.

What are the symptoms of the bird flu in humans? ›

The U.S. cases have been relatively mild and limited to farm workers who had handled infected animals — a sign that the virus in its current state isn't a major threat to humans. Some patients have reported typical flu symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat or runny nose.

Where is the outbreak of bird flu? ›

And now at the time of this filming, five additional cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza or H5 bird flu virus infections have been identified, all of them in Colorado. The cases were identified by the Colorado Department of Public Health. And so far, four of them have undergone confirmatory testing by the CDC.

How is bird flu transmitted to humans? ›

Humans can have contact with avian flu virus when a person touches a surface with virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also be inhaled from droplets or dust in the air. The spread of avian flu virus from one infected person to another is very rare.

Is milk contaminated with bird flu? ›

These results complement the FDA's initial retail sampling study in which all 297 samples of dairy products collected at retail locations were found to be negative for viable H5N1 HPAI virus. Collectively, these studies provide strong assurances that the commercial milk supply is safe.

What's the worst virus in human history? ›

The deadliest viruses in history
  • Marburg virus.
  • Ebola virus.
  • Rabies.
  • HIV.
  • Smallpox.
  • Hantavirus.
  • Influenza.
  • Dengue.
Oct 19, 2022

What disease no longer exists in the United States? ›

The eliminated diseases
DiseaseDate last endemic caseDate last imported case
3 more rows

What is the biggest killer disease in history? ›

By death toll
1Spanish fluInfluenza A/H1N1
2Plague of JustinianBubonic plague
4Black DeathBubonic plague
15 more rows

How do you get rid of bird flu in humans? ›

Treatment with the antiviral medicine oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) may make the disease less severe. For the medicine to work, you need to start taking it within 48 hours after your symptoms start. Oseltamivir may also be prescribed for people who live in the same house as people with avian flu.

Is bird flu in eggs? ›

It is not a blood-borne pathogen; therefore, handling eggs poses a low risk for infection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations says that there is no evidence that anyone has been infected with the avian flu by eating properly cooked eggs. Cooking eggs to 160°F (71°C) will kill the avian flu virus.

Can you get bird flu from touching a feather? ›

People should also be aware that domestic duck feathers are a possible source of zoonotic AI virus (H5N1) infection.

Where did the bird flu outbreak come from? ›

It is thought that all influenza A viruses causing outbreaks or pandemics among humans since the 1900s originated from strains circulating in wild aquatic birds through reassortment with other influenza strains. It is possible (though not certain) that pigs may act as an intermediate host for reassortment.

How many people have gotten bird flu in the US? ›

Bird flu virus outbreak in backyard and commercial poultry

Of the nine human cases of bird flu in the U.S. since 2022, five followed exposure to poultry. The other cases followed exposure to dairy cows. While no one needed to be admitted to the hospital, each had a mild respiratory condition and conjunctivitis.

Is bird flu a problem now? ›

Birds Affected

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) viruses have been detected in U.S. wild aquatic birds, commercial poultry and backyard or hobbyist flocks beginning in January 2022. These are the first detections of HPAI A(H5) viruses in the U.S. since 2016.

What are the symptoms of the current flu outbreak? ›

The degree of illness can range from mild to severe and can include fever, body aches, cough, headache, and sore throat.

What is the death rate of bird flu symptoms in humans? ›

He gives two reasons: One is that there has been a mortality (or death) rate of about 50% in the almost 900 people around the world who have been infected with bird flu between 2003 and 2024.

How long does avian flu last in humans? ›

Living with avian flu may mean a week or two of living with mild symptoms that get better over time. Rest and fluids will help.

What is the mortality rate of H5N1 by age? ›

The WHO researchers found that H5N1 has killed 60 percent of its victims and found big differences in fatality by age. "The highest case fatality rate (76 percent) was found among those aged 10 to 19 years; the lowest case fatality rate (40 percent) was found among those aged over 50 years," the report reads.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aron Pacocha

Last Updated:

Views: 5321

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aron Pacocha

Birthday: 1999-08-12

Address: 3808 Moen Corner, Gorczanyport, FL 67364-2074

Phone: +393457723392

Job: Retail Consultant

Hobby: Jewelry making, Cooking, Gaming, Reading, Juggling, Cabaret, Origami

Introduction: My name is Aron Pacocha, I am a happy, tasty, innocent, proud, talented, courageous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.