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CDC Confirms Third Case of H5N1 Avian Flu In USA

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H5N1 Avian Flu

(CTN News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a third case of H5N1 avian flu in the United States on Thursday, marking the second case in Michigan alone.

The affected individual, identified as a farm worker, tested positive for the virus after coming into contact with sick cows.

This new case does not suggest human-to-human transmission of the highly pathogenic avian flu, as it was detected on a separate farm from the previous Michigan case, officials clarified.

According to the CDC, only 39 individuals have been tested for H5N1 during the 2024 outbreak in the United States. Currently, more than 350 people are under surveillance for symptoms, including 220 individuals in Michigan.

USDA Announces Funding to Combat H5N1 Outbreak in US Livestock

In a recent development, H5N1 was detected in the muscle of a dairy cow intended for beef consumption. However, the infected meat did not enter the food supply, confirmed officials from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

To tackle the ongoing outbreak, the USDA announced $824 million in new funding to safeguard livestock health. However, plans for reimbursing affected farms for lost production have not been disclosed yet, which could potentially increase the reporting of cases.

“This is the first time in the US outbreak a person with H5N1 has displayed respiratory symptoms, unlike the previous two cases with only conjunctivitis, commonly known as ‘pink eye,'” said Dr. Nirav Shah, principal deputy director of the CDC, during a press briefing.

Dr. Shah expressed concern over the respiratory symptoms, stating, “Someone who’s coughing may be more likely to transmit the virus than someone who has an eye infection like conjunctivitis.”

The infected individual has been administered influenza antivirals and is reportedly recovering. None of their close contacts, including other farm workers, have reported symptoms thus far.

CDC Urges Use of Personal Protective Equipment Despite Summer Heat

Dr. Shah emphasized the importance of using personal protective equipment for workers in close contact with animals, despite the challenges posed by hot summer weather.

In response to the outbreak, the CDC has ordered 4.8 million H5N1 vaccines that are well-matched to the current strain.

Vaccination plans are under consideration for agricultural workers and other high-risk groups, although the CDC does not currently recommend H5N1 vaccination for anyone.

Officials in Michigan are conducting serological studies to determine whether farm workers have previously been infected with H5N1.

The CDC has urged states to remain vigilant in monitoring for flu cases over the summer, traditionally a period of low viral circulation.

“Enhanced influenza surveillance over the summer is crucial,” Dr. Shah stated.

“CDC is collaborating with commercial laboratories to increase their admissions of influenza positive test specimens to public health laboratories during this normally low summer season of influenza activity.”

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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