A person in Colorado has tested positive for the Avian Influenza A virus (H5N1). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the confirmed case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public. The patient contracted the disease directly from an infected bird and is being isolated and treated with influenza antiviral drugs.
This is the second human case worldwide but the first case in the United States. The first case was reported in the United Kingdom. The CDC has been monitoring the illness and to date, the virus has been found in 29 states in both commercial and backyard birds. The virus has been found in wild birds in 34 states.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fatigue, eye infection and upper respiratory symptoms. More severe cases can include pneumonia and could potentially result in death. The CDC will continue to closely monitor the situation and update the risk to human health if necessary. The virus is also being monitored for possible variants.
The CDC reminds everyone that the proper handling of poultry and eggs includes wearing gloves and washing your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap. If available, wear medical facemasks and eye protection if working with birds. The proper internal temperature for cooking poultry and eggs is 165 degrees F to kill bacteria and viruses, including the H5N1 virus. Other information on how to stay safe around birds and what to do if you find a dead bird can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/prevention.htm
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