Bird flu outbreak spreads in US after fourth farmworker tests positive – National

A fourth farm worker has been infected with bird flu in the growing outbreak linked to dairy cows, health officials said Wednesday.

The worker had direct contact with infected dairy cows on a farm in northeastern Colorado, state and federal health officials said. The man developed pink eye, or conjunctivitis, was given antiviral treatment and has recovered.

Since March, three previous cases of human infections linked to cows have been reported on dairy farms in Texas and Michigan. Two of those workers also developed pink eye, while one had mild respiratory symptoms. In 2022, the first case of bird flu in the U.S. was identified in a Colorado farm worker who had been exposed to infected poultry.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new infection “does not change” the agency’s assessment that the risk to the general public remains low. Surveillance systems that track flu in the U.S. have not detected any unusual activity, officials said. However, people with prolonged contact with infected birds or other animals, including livestock, or with their environment are at higher risk of infection.

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The Colorado man was being monitored when he developed symptoms due to his work with dairy cows, the CDC said. State testing was inconclusive, but samples sent to the CDC tested positive. Full results of genetic analysis of the sample are pending.

As of Wednesday, more than 135 dairy herds in a dozen states had reported infections with the H5N1 virus, which originated in poultry, according to the Agriculture Department.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press

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