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Dairy cows

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An individual within the US has contracted hen flu from contaminated dairy cows in Texas. That is the primary confirmed case of a subtype of the virus, named H5N1, transmitting between a human and one other mammal.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced the information immediately after confirming the constructive take a look at outcomes over the weekend. The individual, whose solely symptom is eye irritation, is on antiviral medicines and recovering. That they had been uncovered to cows believed to be contaminated with the virus, which has decimated international hen populations.

Final week, cows throughout 5 US states – Texas, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Idaho – examined constructive for H5N1. It’s unclear how they turned sick, but it surely now appears that the virus could also be spreading among the many animals, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Beforehand, mammals had solely been confirmed to contract the virus from sick birds. “There have been a few outbreaks that didn’t embody people the place it’s potential there was mammal-to-mammal transmission,” says Richard Webby at St. Jude Kids’s Hospital in Tennessee. As an example, 17,000 child elephant seals died from hen flu in Argentina late final 12 months. There was additionally an outbreak amongst farmed mink in Spain in 2022. However it’s laborious to rule out the potential of different sources of the virus similar to contaminated meals in these conditions, he says.

Regardless of the latest human an infection, the CDC says the chance of contracting hen flu stays low for most individuals. Folks in shut contact with contaminated birds or different animals, together with livestock, have the best threat. Whereas pasteurised milk stays secure, folks ought to keep away from consuming or dealing with uncooked milk merchandise.

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