First US Case of H5N1 Bird Flu with Respiratory Symptoms Confirmed

CDC via Unsplash

Back in March, we first heard about the spread of bird flu among dairy cows in the United States, and officials released a statement. Since then, the viral illness has been found among cattle on farms in nine different states. As a matter of fact, three people have likely contracted the disease as a result of being exposed to ill cows. In Texas, the first person to become infected by a cow was found, and a second one was found in Michigan. The third case is noteworthy because it is the very first human H5N1 illness in the United States that has been linked to respiratory symptoms.

The patient reported upper respiratory tract symptoms, including cough without fever, and eye discomfort with watery discharge, stated CDC.

According to the CDC, the chance of the disease spreading to the general population is still rather low. The use of raw milk is still strongly discouraged by the authorities, while those who are employed on dairy farms are now at the greatest risk of contamination. Researchers are also looking into whether or not the virus has acquired any changes that might increase the likelihood of it spreading from person to person, despite the fact that there is no proof of such a way of transmission as of now.

The fact that there is yet another incidence of human H5N1 infection is not actually unusual considering the extent to which this virus has spread among dairy cows. A series of events that, in the worst-case scenario, might lead to a pandemic that could be triggered whenever the virus jumps on people. Mutations have also been discussed but until official statements get released, it’s better to remain calm and wait for more details. False information could be easily spread, so make sure you check out a source twice before making any assumptions!

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.