Another Human Contracts Avian Flu, Shows Respiratory Symptoms

High Alert: Another Human Contracts Avian Flu, Shows Respiratory Symptoms

United States: A newly identified case of avian influenza in a Michigan dairy worker, marked by acute respiratory symptoms, represents the first such instance in the United States, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday.

This incident is the third human case linked to the ongoing H5N1 bird flu outbreak among US dairy cattle. The preceding cases exhibited symptoms of ocular infection rather than respiratory issues, according to Morning Star.

Despite this development, the CDC maintained that the threat to the general populace remains minimal. However, this new case underscores the critical importance of using protective gear—such as masks, goggles, and gloves—for those in contact with potentially infected animals. Additionally, the agency advises avoiding close interaction with sick or deceased animals, including wild birds and poultry.

Visual Representation | Credits: Reuters

The Michigan case pertains to a worker who had direct contact with an infected bovine. The previous Michigan case involved a worker exposed to infected milk that splashed into their eye, according to Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for the state of Michigan, in a statement on Tuesday. Neither individual was fully equipped with personal protective gear, Bagdasarian noted.

The CDC is meticulously observing flu surveillance systems and has not detected any anomalies, such as an increase in flu-related emergency room visits or a surge in laboratory-confirmed flu cases, as highlighted by Morning Star.

The recent human infection is associated with a different farm than the one implicated in the Michigan case reported the previous week, the CDC said. The new patient experienced a cough and eye symptoms and is currently recuperating after receiving Tamiflu treatment, the agency stated.

Bagdasarian emphasized that farmworkers exposed to affected animals should report even mild symptoms, with testing for the virus being made available.

At the federal level, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, a division of the US Health and Human Services Department, has initiated the process of filling and finishing approximately 4.8 million doses of vaccine that could be deployed against the current bird flu strain, a spokesperson told MarketWatch late last week, as mentioned by Morning Star.

Representation for a woman suffering with respiratory illness

Shares of vaccine-related companies generally saw an uptick on Thursday. Moderna Inc. (MRNA), which is in discussions with the US government to advance its experimental mRNA pandemic flu vaccine, saw its shares rise by 1.2 percent on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc. (PFE) shares increased by 0.6 percent, and BioNTech SE’s American depositary receipts (BNTX) gained 2.2 percent.

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