☷U S Case of Human Avian Influenza A H5 Virus ReportedPerson Had Contact with Infected Poultry Public Health Risk Assessment Remains Low
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( By Press Release office)
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Media StatementFor Immediate Release: Thursday , April 28 , 2022 , 11:00 p . m . ETContact: Media Relations ( 404 ) 639 - 3286A person has tested positive for avian influenza A ( H5 ) virus ( H5 bird flu ) in the U . S . , as reported by Colorado and confirmed by CDC . This case occurred in a person who had direct exposure to poultry and was involved in the culling ( depopulating ) of poultry with presumptive H5N1 bird flu . The patient reported fatigue for a few days as their only symptom and has since recovered . The patient is being isolated and treated with the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir . While it is possible the detection of H5 bird flu in this specimen is a result of surface contamination of the nasal membrane , that can’t be determined at this point and the positive test result meets the criteria for an H5 case . The appropriate public health response at this time is to assume this is an infection and take actions to contain and treat . This case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public , which CDC considers to be low . However , people who have job - related or recreational exposures to infected birds are at higher risk of infection should take appropriate precautions outlined in CDC guidance . CDC has been monitoring for illness among people exposed to H5N1 virus - infected birds since these outbreaks were detected in U . S . wild birds and poultry in late 2021 and into 2022 . To date , H5N1 viruses have been found in U . S . commercial and backyard birds in 29 statesexternal icon and in wild birds in 34 states . 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 . This is the second human case associated with this specific group of H5 viruses that are currently predominant , and the first case in the United States . The firstexternal icon case internationally occurred in December 2021 in the United Kingdom in a person who did not have any symptoms and who raised birds that became infected with H5N1 virus . More than 880 human infections with earlier H5N1 viruses have been reported since 2003 worldwide , however , the predominant H5N1 viruses now circulating among birds globally are different from earlier H5N1 viruses . Infected birds shed H5N1 viruses in their saliva , mucous and feces . H5N1 virus infections among people are rare; however , human infections can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes , nose , or mouth , or is inhaled . People with close or lengthy unprotected contact ( not wearing respiratory or eye protection ) with infected birds or places that sick birds or their mucous , saliva , or feces have touched , may be at greater risk of H5N1 virus infection . Illnesses in people from bird flu virus infections have ranged from mild ( e . g . , eye infection , upper respiratory symptoms ) to severe illness ( e . g . , pneumonia ) that can result in death . The only previous human case associated with this group of H5N1 viruses produced in no symptoms . Spread of earlier H5N1 viruses from one infected person to a close contact in the past have happened very rarely and have not led to sustained person - to - person spread . Local , state and federal health partners are working together to prevent spread of this H5N1 virus among birds and people . The U . S . Department of Interior and U . S . Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) are the lead federal departments for avian influenza outbreak investigation and control in wild birds , and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is the lead agency for such activities in domestic birds such as poultry . The U . S . Department of Health and Human Services and CDC are the lead federal partners for public health for this situation . This one H5 - positive human case does not change the human health risk assessment . CDC will continue to watch this situation closely for signs that the risk to human health has changed . Signals that could raise the public health risk might include multiple reports of H5N1 virus infections in people from exposure to birds , or identification of spread from one infected person to a close contact . CDC also is monitoring H5N1 viruses for genetic changes that have been associated with adaptation to mammals , which could indicate the virus is adapting to spread more readily from birds to people . CDC is taking routine preparedness and prevention measures , which includes an existing candidate vaccine virus that could be used to make vaccine for people if one were needed . CDC has guidance for clinicians , public health practitioners and people with potential bird exposures . As a reminder , people should avoid contact with poultry that appear ill or are dead and avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds , if possible . If you must handle wild birds or sick or dead poultry , minimize direct contact by wearing gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after touching birds . If available , wear respiratory protection such as a medical facemask and eye protection such as goggles . It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products in the U . S . The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses , including H5N1 viruses . Additional information on protective actions around birds , including what to do if you find a dead bird , is available . CDC also has guidance for specific groups of people with exposure to poultry , including poultry workers and people responding to poultry outbreaks . CDC will continue to provide further updates to the situation and update guidance as needed .
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