Bird flu risks: What to know as the ‘versatile’ virus continues to spread – GLOBAL

April 2, 2024

As the deadly H5N1 bird flu continues its global spread, wiping out colonies of sea lions, decimating bird populations by the millions and even reaching Antarctica for the first time, concerns persist regarding its potential risks to human health.

The latest development emerged after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported a human case of avian influenza in a person who had contact with dairy cows in Texas presumed to be infected with the virus.

“So this highly pathogenic avian influenza has been circulating around the world at a very high rate for a number of years now,” explained Matthew Miller, the director of the Degroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University.

However, the fact that it has never before spread to dairy cattle raises significant concerns, he said.

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