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Bird flu strikes again - Michigan dairy worker affected

Bird flu strikes again - Michigan dairy worker affected

By Andi Anderson

Health officials in Michigan and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a second human case of bird flu in the United States. The affected individual, a dairy worker in Michigan, showed mild symptoms focused on eye irritation but has since recovered.

The worker experienced eye discomfort due to contact with infected cows at a local farm. Although a nasal swab tested negative for bird flu, an eye swab confirmed bird flu, indicating a localized infection. Michigan's chief medical executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, confirmed the worker did not need antiviral treatments and has fully recovered.

This incident underscores the heightened risk to farmworkers exposed to infected animals. Health officials have emphasized the importance of protective equipment, particularly eyewear, to shield workers from potential infection. An ongoing investigation seeks to confirm whether the worker was wearing protective eyewear at the time of exposure.

Earlier in the year, another farmworker in Texas contracted the virus under similar circumstances, marking the first known instance of human infection from a mammal globally. Like the Michigan case, the Texas worker only reported mild eye inflammation and recovered fully.

The bird flu virus has been detected in various animal species since 2020, raising concerns about its potential spread and impact on animal and human health. The discovery in U.S. dairy herds earlier this year has alarmed public health and agricultural officials due to the steady rise in cow infections.

As of the latest reports, 51 dairy herds across nine states have been confirmed to carry the virus, with Michigan accounting for 15 of these herds. Dr. Nirav Shah from the CDC noted that these cases were anticipated, and additional human infections could be identified as monitoring continues.

Health efforts in Michigan have been proactive, with officials like Dr. Bagdasarian and others sending daily messages to farmworkers to report symptoms, aiding in early detection and response.

Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist from the University of Minnesota, reassured the public that there is no evidence of the virus causing severe respiratory illnesses or spreading widely among people. He also confirmed that while the virus is present in raw milk from infected cows, pasteurized dairy products remain safe for consumption due to the effectiveness of heat treatment in eliminating the virus.

This case represents the third diagnosis of the Type A H5N1 virus in humans in the United States, following an earlier instance in 2022 involving a prison inmate who contracted the virus while handling infected poultry in Colorado.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-jesp62

Third US bird flu case - Michigan farm worker affected Third US bird flu case - Michigan farm worker affected
Prioritizing First Alfalfa Cut Crucial for Dairy Farm Success Prioritizing First Alfalfa Cut Crucial for Dairy Farm Success

Categories: Michigan, General

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