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Another case of bird flu in humans in the United States

Another case of bird flu in humans in the United States

In the United States, a third case of bird flu has been reported in a man who had contact with cows. For the first time, there are common symptoms of acute respiratory illness such as coughing, according to the CDC. A dairy worker in the US state of Michigan has been infected. Given the extent of the virus' spread among dairy cows, more cases are expected in the United States.

The H5N1 virus, first detected in bird populations, has been circulating in cattle in the United States for months. The three infections detected in humans so far — one in Michigan and one in Texas — are not related, and according to available data, infection occurred through direct contact with infected cows, not person-to-person. “The risk to the general public who has not had contact with infected animals is low,” the CDC said. “Additional genetic analyzes will look for changes in the virus that could change the agency's risk assessment.”

So far, there is no evidence of unusual human flu activity in the affected states — no increase in emergency room visits for the flu and no increase in laboratory-diagnosed influenza cases. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), employees of poultry or dairy farms are recommended to receive the flu vaccine. Although this does not prevent infection with avian influenza viruses, it can reduce the risk of co-infection with avian and influenza viruses. According to experts, in such cases the two forms of the virus can mix – resulting in a more dangerous pathogen.

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Like human flu, bird flu or bird flu is caused by influenza A viruses, but with different subtypes. The largest wave of bird flu ever documented is currently sweeping the globe, affecting Europe as well. The pathogen primarily affects birds, but is also found in many mammals, including cats, bears and seals.

Human infections have so far occurred only occasionally. However, health experts warn of the risk of the virus adapting to humans and then spreading from person to person.