Michigan Dairy Worker Diagnosed with Bird Flu, Second US Case This Year

By Madz Dizon

May 22, 2024 09:01 PM EDT

Michigan Dairy Worker Diagnosed with Bird Flu, Second US Case This Year

(Photo : KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a farm worker in Michigan who had regular exposure to infected cattle had H5 influenza, often known as avian influenza or bird flu.

It is the second case recorded as part of a nationwide outbreak of the virus in birds and cattle, and the third bird flu case ever documented in a person in the United States.

Michigan Dairy Worker Diagnosed With Bird Flu

However, health authorities cautioned Wednesday that the danger to the general population is still low, CNN reported.

The person was being checked for the infection after being exposed to sick livestock, according to a CDC press release issued on Wednesday.

A nasal sample proved negative for influenza at both the state health department and the CDC, but an eye swab showed positive. The individual experienced just eye issues, and these have healed.

Eye symptoms such as redness, swelling, and watering were also observed in the sole other human case in this epidemic, which occurred in a dairy farm worker in Texas. That individual received antiviral drugs and recovered with no long-term issues.

The Michigan farm worker was one of around 170 persons engaged in an active monitoring program, which involved receiving a text message from the state health agency every day asking about potential symptoms.

When the person reported symptoms, public health personnel collected samples, administered antiviral drugs to them and their close contacts, and advised them to isolate.

According to NY Times, veterinarians have indicated that some farmworkers are experiencing flu-like symptoms, but few farmers and farmworkers have accepted to get tested.

READ NEXT: Disney to Lay Off Nearly 175 Pixar Workers Following Box Office Disappointments and 'Woke' Controversy 

Bird Flu Outbreak in US Dairy Farms

The virus has been found in 51 dairy cows across nine states, according to the US Department of Agriculture. However, the outbreak is believed to be considerably more extensive.

Michigan officials have identified four sick herds that were not included in the federal total. The Food and Drug Administration discovered signs of the virus in 20% of dairy products tested from store aisles in 17 states.

Scientists believe the virus was most likely spread from wild birds to dairy cows in a single spillover incident in the Texas Panhandle as early as late December. Federal officials did not confirm the initial cases until late March.

Cows were not supposed to be vulnerable to the virus, but investigations have discovered that it propagated unnoticed among them with no evident symptoms.

The virus has been diagnosed in several dairy herds with no known ties to impacted farms, suggesting that the virus propagated among asymptomatic cows and that there are contaminated herds that have yet to be discovered.

The virus may have passed between cows primarily through contaminated milk containing high amounts of virus. The virus has also migrated from dairy farms to poultry farms, most likely through the transportation of contaminated trucks or equipment.

The transportation of diseased cows from Texas may have transmitted the virus to North Carolina and Michigan.

READ MORE: Electric Vehicles Are Three Times More Likely to Hit Urban Pedestrians Than Fuel Cars, Study Reveals 

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics