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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Human Avian Influenza A (H5) Virus: CDC Statement – Outbreak News Today

CDC issued the following statement on Thursday, April 28, 2022:

A person in the US has tested positive for avian influenza A (H5) virus (H5 bird flu), as reported by Colorado and confirmed by the CDC. This case occurred in a person who had direct contact with poultry and was involved in depopulating poultry with H5N1 bird flu. The patient reported fatigue as his only symptom for a few days and has since recovered. The patient is being isolated and treated with the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir. While it is possible that the detection of H5 bird flu in this sample is the result of superficial contamination of the nasal membranes, which cannot be determined at this point and a positive test result meets the criteria for an H5 case. The appropriate public health response at this time is to recognize that it is an infection and take action to prevent and treat it.

Bird Flu
H5N1 Avian Influenza/CDC

This case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public, which the CDC considers low. However, people who have job-related or recreational exposure to infected birds at higher risk of infection should take the appropriate precautions outlined in CDC guidance.

CDC is monitoring disease among people exposed to birds infected with the H5N1 virus since these outbreaks were detected in US wild birds and poultry in late 2021 and 2022. To date, H5N1 viruses have been detected in US commercial and backyard birds in 29 states. and in wild birds in 34 states. The CDC has tracked the health of more than 2,500 people who came into contact with birds infected with the H5N1 virus, and this is the only case found to date. Others involved in the Kalinga operation in Colorado have tested negative for infection with the H5 virus, but are being withdrawn very carefully.

This is the second human case involving this specific group of H5 viruses that is currently dominant, and the first case in the United States. The first case internationally occurred in December 2021 in the United Kingdom in a person who had no symptoms and who had raised birds that had become infected with the H5N1 virus. More than 880 human infections with H5N1 viruses have been reported worldwide since 2003, however, the dominant H5N1 viruses now circulating among birds globally are distinct from the earlier H5N1 viruses.

Infected birds release the H5N1 virus in their saliva, mucus, and feces. H5N1 virus infections in people are rare; However, human infection can occur when enough virus has reached, or ingested, a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. People with close or prolonged unprotected contact (without respiratory or eye protection) with sick birds or their mucus, saliva, or feces in infected birds or places may be at higher risk of infection with the H5N1 virus. Illnesses caused by bird flu virus infection range from mild (eg, eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms) to severe illness (eg, pneumonia), which can result in death. The only previous human case involving this group of H5N1 viruses produced no symptoms. In the past, the transmission of the H5N1 virus in close contact with an infected person has been very low and has not led to sustained person-to-person transmission.

Local, state and federal health partners are working together to prevent the spread of this H5N1 virus between birds and people. The US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the principal federal departments for the investigation and control of avian influenza outbreaks in wild birds, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is the principal agency for such activities in domestic birds such as poultry. , The US Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC are the major federal partners for public health for this condition.

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This one H5 positive human case does not change the human health risk assessment. CDC will continue to watch this situation closely for signs that the risk to human health has changed. Signs that may increase public health risk may include multiple reports of H5N1 virus infection in people through contact with birds, or identification of spread from an infected person to a close contact. CDC is also monitoring the H5N1 virus for genetic changes that have been associated with adaptation to mammals, which may indicate that the virus has adapted to spread more easily from birds to people. CDC is taking routine preparedness and prevention measures, including an existing candidate vaccine virus that could be used to make a vaccine for people when needed.

The CDC has guidance for physicians, public health practitioners, and those at potential bird exposure. As a reminder, people should avoid contact with poultry that appear sick or dead and, if possible, avoid contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds. If you must handle wild birds or sick or dead poultry, minimize direct contact by wearing gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after touching birds. If available, wear respiratory protection such as a medical facemask and eye protection such as goggles. US It is safe to eat poultry and poultry products that are properly handled and cooked in the U.S. Proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including H5N1 viruses. Additional information is available about protective actions around birds, including what to do if a dead bird is found. The CDC also has guidance for specific groups of people exposed to poultry, including poultry workers and people responding to poultry outbreaks. CDC will continue to provide further updates to the situation and will update guidance as needed.

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