Texas Resident Infected with Bird Flu Amidst Cattle Epidemic

Texas Resident Infected with Bird Flu Amidst Cattle Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that a Texas man has become infected with a “highly pathogenic” avian flu that has been spreading among American dairy cows in five states.

However, authorities are downplaying the strain’s larger risk to public health, the CDC said in a statement on Monday.

“This infection does not change the H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which CDC considers to be low,” the statement reads.

The unidentified Texas resident who was stricken only exhibited mild symptoms, according to state health officials. How the person got into contact with the contaminated livestock was not disclosed by the authorities.

“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 stated.

Animal and human cases of bird flu increased globally between 2013 and 2022, according to a CDC study.

The CDC reports that recent bird flu illnesses in dairy cows in Texas, Kansas, Idaho, New Mexico, and Michigan represent the first instance of the virus being found in cattle in the United States.

According to the CDC, viral transmission among cattle would represent a significant shift in the capabilities of bird flu viruses, which typically travel through direct contact with infected birds and have seldom been seen to successfully transfer between mammals.

According to federal inspectors, dead wild birds discovered on the farm may have been the source of the initial livestock infection. Few cattle have died and the majority of livestock have recovered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Texas resident’s sickness is the country’s second human infection since 2022. A prisoner participating in a work program at a Colorado poultry farm came into contact with the Type A H5N1 virus after killing sick birds, marking the first known human incidence of the virus. The individual healed and did not get very sick.

Experts are concerned about a mutated bird flu that could transmit to humans, which would be the worst scenario.

Health care professionals, particularly those who work with livestock, are advised by the Texas Department of State Health Services “to be vigilant for people with signs and symptoms of avian influenza.”