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Business News/ News / Bird flu scare: Second human case confirmed in US. Should you be worried? Symptoms, risks, and other details in 8 points
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Bird flu scare: Second human case confirmed in US. Should you be worried? Symptoms, risks, and other details in 8 points

Bird flu scare: As of Tuesday, it had been discovered in dairy herds in five states — Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas — according to the US Department of Agriculture

Picture for representation: The symptoms of bird flu are similar to those of other types of flu, such as coughing, body aches, and fever. (REUTERS)Premium
Picture for representation: The symptoms of bird flu are similar to those of other types of flu, such as coughing, body aches, and fever. (REUTERS)

The Avian Flu, or bird flu, threat is growing as a second human case is confirmed in the US. Texas authorities stated that a person in the state contracted the flu from close contact with infected cows. Last week, US officials said it had been found in livestock. As of Tuesday, it had been discovered in dairy herds in five states — Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, and Texas — according to the US Department of Agriculture.

1)Avian Flu: Second human case confirmed in US

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a dairy worker in Texas tested positive for avian influenza. This announcement follows the recent revelation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) of avian flu outbreaks in specific dairy cow herds in Texas just a week ago. Human cases of the H5N1 subtype avian influenza, commonly known as H5N1 bird flu, are rare, and the CDC noted that this is only the second reported case in the U.S. The first case occurred in Colorado in 2022.

2)What is bird flu?

Certain flu viruses primarily impact humans, while others are predominantly found in animals. Avian viruses typically originate in wild aquatic birds such as ducks and geese, and then transmit to domesticated poultry like chickens.

The current focus is on the bird flu virus Type A H5N1, which was initially detected in 1959. Like many viruses, it has undergone evolutionary changes, giving rise to newer strains.

3)Symptoms of bird flu

The symptoms are similar to those of other types of flu, such as coughing, body aches, and fever. While some individuals may not exhibit noticeable symptoms, others may experience severe pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

4)Expert views on Bird Flu

Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasized to The Associated Press on Wednesday the seriousness with which the agency regards the bird flu situation. She pointed out that although the virus has been extensively studied, its presence in cattle heightens concern. Cohen highlighted the necessity for precautions among farmworkers handling cattle, not just those working with birds. Encouragingly, she noted, "It's not a new strain of the virus," emphasizing that the CDC has been studying and preparing for avian flu for two decades.

Also Read: Antarctica sees first bird flu case, confirms scientists

5)States affected in the US

According to a joint statement released by federal agencies on March 29, the illness has been identified in cattle herds in several states, including Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas.

6)How does it spread?

Bird flu primarily spreads through contact with infected birds. Most cases in humans have occurred after a person had unprotected exposure to sick or dead infected animals.

7)Risks of bird flu

Some avian influenza outbreaks have led to severe or deadly infections in individuals in close contact with wild birds or poultry. Presently, H5N1 doesn't readily transmit between humans, but scientists are vigilant for mutations that could enable such spread, potentially causing a pandemic.

According to a Reuters report, Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, stated that the Texas case "doesn't alter the general risk of a significant pandemic," but emphasized the importance of investigating any new cases to prevent potential person-to-person transmission.

8)Bird flu vaccine for humans?

According to Reuters, flu vaccine manufacturers Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and CSL Seqirus have stated that they are keeping an eye on avian flu and are prepared to develop vaccines for it if necessary.

-With agency inputs

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Published: 04 Apr 2024, 07:10 AM IST
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