(WWTI) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of a new strain of human avian flu in the U.S.
According to the CDC, a human in Colorado has tested positive for avian influenza virus, or H5 bird flu. This was reported by Colorado and confirmed by CDC on April 28.
This strain of bird flu has been monitored by CDC and other health agencies since outbreaks were confirmed in birds in the U.S. in late 2021. To date, H5N1 viruses have been found in commercial and backyard birds in 29 states and in wild birds in 34 states.
This is the second human case associated with this specific ground of H5 viruses and the first case in the United States.
The CDC stated that the case occurred in a person who had direct exposure to poultry and was involved in the depopulation of poultry and suspective H5N1 bird flu.
The patient had previously reported fatigue, which was their only symptom and has since recovered. The patient is now being treated with the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir.
CDC said that while it is possible the detection of H5 bird flu in this individual is a result of surface contamination, this cannot be confirmed. Appropriate public health responses have been directed to take actions to contain and treat future cases.
CDC stated that this case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public which is considered to be low at this time. However, people with jobs handling infected birds are at a higher risk of infection.
Infected birds shed H5N1 viruses in their saliva, mucous and feces. Human infections can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth or is inhaled.
Illnesses in people have ranged from mild symptoms such as eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms to severe symptoms such as pneumonia. The spread of earlier H5N1 viruses from one infected person to a close contact have occurred rarely in the past.
CDC added that local, state and federal health partners are working together to prevent the spread of this H5N1 virus among birds and people.