Michigan Dairy Worker Diagnosed with Bird Flu, Second U.S. Case Linked to Cows

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A dairy worker in Michigan has been confirmed as the second human case of bird flu linked to dairy cows in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu’s second bovine-to-human transmission case on April 1, a few weeks after confirming the first case in Texas cows. State and public health officials announced on Wednesday the outbreak’s second case, this time in Michigan.

Dairy cows stand together at a farm, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Clinton, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The dairy worker experienced only mild symptoms and made a quick recovery, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. Health officials emphasize that the risk of a larger outbreak remains low.

“Michigan has led a swift public health response, and we have been tracking this situation closely since influenza A (H5N1) was detected in poultry and dairy herds in Michigan. Farmworkers who have been exposed to impacted animals have been asked to report even mild symptoms, and testing for the virus has been made available,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive of the MDHHS, said.

“The current health risk to the general public remains low,” she added. “This virus is being closely monitored, and we have not seen signs of sustained human-to-human transmission at this point. This is exactly how public health is meant to work, in early detection and monitoring of new and emerging illnesses.”

The first-ever case of human-to-bovine transmission in the U.S. occurred in Colorado in 2022.

Bird flu is exceedingly rare, with most cases found in underdeveloped regions of Southeast Asia and Africa. Although rare, the disease is notorious for its extremely high fatality rate, over 52%.

Brady Knox
Brady Knox
Brady Knox is a breaking news reporter with a particular focus on Russia, Eastern Europe, and foreign affairs. Hailing from Pittsburgh, he graduated from Miami University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies and political science.

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