Bird flu: US health officials report second human case of H5N1 infection in a Michigan farmworker; details here

The US farmworker reported eye redness as the only symptom and has recovered, informed the health officials.

Written By Fareha Naaz
First Published23 May 2024
A US farmworker contracted bird flu from infected livestock, confirmed as H5N1 from cattle exposure.
A US farmworker contracted bird flu from infected livestock, confirmed as H5N1 from cattle exposure.(AP)

Health officials reported a second human case of bird flu infection in the United States on Wednesday, following the first case reported last month in Texas. 

ABC News reported, citing health officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), that the infected man is a Michigan farmworker who had regular exposure to livestock-infected bird flu or avian influenza. 

The Michigan dairy worker reported bird flu symptoms to local health officials, after which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health agency of the United States, was monitoring him for his exposure to infected cattle. 

The farm worker has since recovered, the MDHHS informed.

Also read: Bird flu outbreak '100 times worse' than Covid pandemic, say experts

“Two specimens were collected from the patient. An upper respiratory tract specimen collected from the worker's nose was negative for influenza virus at the state health department laboratory,” ANI reported, citing the US public health agency's press release. 

Also read: Human bird flu cases 'an enormous concern': WHO flags surge in H5N1 cases with ‘extraordinarily high’ mortality

The CDC's press release further added, “The eye specimen was sent to CDC for testing because it is one of a few labs where those specimens can be used with the CDC A(H5) test. The specimen was received by CDC, and testing results confirmed A(H5) virus infection.”

Furthermore, the CDC retested the nasal specimen of the infected farmworker and reported it to be negative for influenza. It is noteworthy that the designation of the influenza virus neuraminidase (the N in the subtype) is pending genetic sequencing at the CDC while attempts are underway. 

Also read: US Health Officials to Spend $100 Million on Bird Flu Surveillance

The earlier human case of bird flu in the United States was reported in April. This case was reported in Texas and was also associated with cattle, ABC News reported. The infected person, who worked directly with sick cattle, reported eye redness as the only symptom.  

Only three cases of bird flu have been reported across the US so far, including the recent Michigan case. According to MDHHS and the CDC, the risk of catching bird flu remains low.

Chief medical executive at MDHHS, Dr Natasha Bagdasarian, said, “Michigan has led a swift public health response, and we have been tracking this situation closely since influenza A (H5N1) was detected in poultry and dairy herds in Michigan.”

(With ANI inputs)

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