Avian Influenza Detected In Person Exposed To Dairy Cattle - Cowsmo

Avian Influenza Detected In Person Exposed To Dairy Cattle

A human case of avian influenza has been confirmed in a person who had contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with the virus, Texas and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

It is the second case of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza identified in a person in the United States. The CDC said this infection does not change the H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which it considers to be low.

The health agency said people who are exposed to infected birds or animals or to environments contaminated by them are at greater risk of infection. The patient’s only symptom was eye inflammation, according to the state’s health department.

The CDC is working closely with state and federal agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and local health authorities to investigate and closely monitor this situation.

Cases of avian influenza in dairy cattle have been confirmed in Michigan and Idaho, along with initial cases in Kansas, Texas and New Mexico.

Alberta Milk offered new advice on managing avian influenza to Canadian dairy farmers in an April 1 news release. They include:

• Closely follow heightened biosecurity practices including increased herd monitoring for signs of illness
• Limit animal movements from U.S. or Canadian sources
• Restrict animal movement to those necessary
• Isolate sick cattle from the herd promptly
• Isolate and monitor for symptoms for 21 days any Canadian animals brought from another farm or from a place where they could have been in contact with other animals, especially if there is a risk they were in contact with animals from hot spots
• Milk sick cows separately and sanitize milking equipment before using on healthy cows
• Ensure only clean clothes are worn around healthy bovines
• Restrict human movement on your farm from anyone who has been on U.S. farms. If absolutely necessary, use extra caution before these people come on your farm
• Heat-treat milk that is given to calves or any animals on farm

To limit the risk of human infection, people should:

• Wear gloves when handling a sick animal
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until washing hands
• Remove clothing worn around sick animals to be washed and shower at the end of the day
• Train staff and family on measures to take
• Wear different clothes and footwear if you must go to another farm

HPAI is primarily spread by birds to animals, Alberta Milk said, so precautions should be taken against spreading dust, dander or bird droppings. It is also easily killed by many disinfectants, so cleaning equipment and clothing can help protect cattle.

Alberta milk said it will update guidance and resources as new information becomes available.

—Reporting for Reuters from Tom Polansek and Christy Santhosh. With files from Jeff Melchior.


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