Texas Dairy Worker Contracts Bird Flu

It's the first human case this year as illness spreads through cattle
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2024 2:28 PM CDT
Bird Flu Detected in Texas Dairy Worker
Bird flu has been detected in dairy cattle in Texas and five other states.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

A dairy worker in Texas has contracted bird flu, and while the case appears to be a mild one, its rare nature has health officials taking notice.

  • The unidentified worker has eye inflammation as the only symptom and is being treated with the antiviral drug oseltamivir, reports CBS19. The person had direct contact with cows presumed to be infected, and the risk for the general public remains low, according to the CDC.
  • This is only the second time in the US a person has been diagnosed with the Type A H5N1 virus, reports the AP. The first case was in 2022 in Colorado, and that person contracted a mild case at a poultry farm. The new case is the first in the US involving cows.

  • While the virus is most common in birds, it has been detected this year in cattle in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan, with suspected cases in Idaho and New Mexico as well, reports the Washington Post. It also has showed up in goats in Minnesota.
  • Though the human cases have been mild, any change in how the virus might be transmitted "makes me sit up and take notice," epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security tells the Post. The fear is that the virus evolves to jump more frequently from animal to animal, and from animals to humans.
(More bird flu stories.)

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