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Third US bird flu case - Michigan farm worker affected

Third US bird flu case - Michigan farm worker affected

By Andi Anderson

A Michigan farm worker is the third person in the US to be infected with H5 avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu. This case, linked to ongoing outbreaks in livestock, highlights continued monitoring efforts but doesn't raise public health concerns, according to health officials.

The individual, who had regular contact with infected cattle, experienced only eye symptoms and has fully recovered. Similar symptoms were reported in the previous human case, involving a Texas dairy farm worker.

Michigan health officials actively monitored 170 people exposed to the virus. Daily text messages tracked potential symptoms, and upon reporting symptoms, the worker received antiviral medication and isolation guidance.

While health officials consider this case unsurprising, it emphasizes the importance of farm preparedness. Dr. Nirav Shah, a CDC official, reiterated that the risk to the public remains low. No evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.

Genetic sequencing of the virus is underway to compare it to strains found in infected cows and the previous human case. This comparison will provide additional insights. The negative nasal swab and positive eye swab suggest a lower likelihood of respiratory spread.

The safety of the commercial milk supply remains a priority. Dr. Don Prater of the FDA emphasized the effectiveness of pasteurization in eliminating the virus. He reiterated warnings against consuming raw milk.

While testing with a substitute virus in ground beef showed traces of the virus at low levels in rare burgers, it's unclear if this is enough to cause illness. Further investigation is needed.

The third bird flu case in a US farm worker serves as a reminder of ongoing monitoring efforts. Public health officials continue to emphasize the safety of the food supply and the low risk to the public.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-baranozdemir

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