Bird flu remains widespread but still a low risk for humans

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According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the widespread H5 bird flu remains a low health risk for humans. That assessment comes after a third human case since 2022 was recently reported in the United States, and it was the second involving exposure this year to dairy cows.

While the current public health risk is low, the CDC oversees and works with states to monitor people with animal exposure. The agency uses its flu surveillance systems to monitor for H5N1 activity in people. The CDC influenza (flu) surveillance systems show no indicators of unusual influenza activity in people, including avian influenza A(H5N1).

CDC and state and local health departments monitor people exposed to infected birds, poultry, or other animals for 10 days after exposure. Between February 2022 and now, at least 9,300 people have been monitored for exposure to infected poultry, and since March, another 300 have been exposed to cattle for 10 days. These included:

  • At least 325 people tested for novel influenza A after poultry exposure.
  • At least 37 people tested for novel influenza A after cattle exposure.

The only human bird flu cases are two cases of exposure to dairy cows in Texas in April and the recent Michigan event. In 2022, a poultry worker in Colorado was infected. All three recovered. However, public health officials continue to remind people that they should not consume raw, unpasteurized milk.

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Bird flu remains widespread but still a low risk for humans