U.S. confirms first human case of H5 bird flu

The first human case of H5 avian flu was announced in the United States on Thursday, April 28.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Colorado resident in his 40s tested positive for the H5 avian flu virus, making him the country’s first confirmed case.

The infected person is mainly asymptomatic, reporting primarily weariness, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health. The person was isolated, according to the department, and was given the influenza antiviral medicine oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

According to Dr. Rachel Herlihy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s state epidemiologist,

“We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to them is low.

“I am grateful for the seamless collaboration between CDC, Department of Corrections, Department of Agriculture, and CDPHE, as we continue to monitor this virus and protect all Coloradans.”

The CDC on its own part said; 

“This case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public, which CDC considers to be low.

“CDC has tracked the health of more than 2,500 people with exposures to H5N1 virus-infected birds and this is the only case that has been found to date. Other people involved in the culling operation in Colorado have tested negative for H5 virus infection, but they are being retested out of an abundance of caution” 

H5N1 viruses have been found in U.S. commercial and backyard birds in 29 states and in wild birds in 34 states since the CDC started monitoring for illness among people exposed to the viruses in late 2021.

Globally, this is the second human case associated with this specific group of H5 viruses, which are currently predominant, the CDC said. The first was reported in Britain in December 2021.

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