CDC Activates Response for H5N1 Virus Infection

On April 4, CDC activated a center-led response to address public health concerns associated with a confirmed, human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A (H5N1) virus (“H5N1 bird flu”) in Texas. This person had exposure to dairy cattle in Texas presumed to be infected with H5N1 bird flu. The patient reported eye redness consistent with conjunctivitis as the only symptom and is recovering. The patient was told to isolate and is being treated with an antiviral drug for influenza. This infection does not change the H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. public, which CDC considers to be low. However, people with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals including livestock, or to environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals, are at greater risk of infection. CDC has interim recommendations for prevention, monitoring, and public health investigations of H5N1 bird flu viruses.

CDC is working with state health departments to continue to monitor workers who may have been in contact with infected or potentially infected birds or other animals and test those people who develop symptoms. CDC also has recommendations for clinicians on monitoring, testing, and antiviral treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed avian influenza A virus infections. CDC is also working closely with state and federal agencies, including U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and local health authorities, to investigate and closely monitor this situation. On March 29, CDC updated and expanded recommendations to prevent and control the spread of H5N1 bird flu in humans to include other animals, in addition to birds.

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