CDC tells clinicians to watch for bird flu in new health alert

The CDC is warning clinicians and state health departments to watch for bird flu cases after a Texas resident was infected, presumably from dairy cattle.

While health officials say the threat avian flu poses to humans remains low, the situation is being closely monitored and taken "very seriously," CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, told ABC News in an April 3 report. State and federal health officials on April 1 confirmed an individual in Texas who worked on a dairy farm had tested positive for H5N1. The patient developed conjunctivitis with no other symptoms, was not hospitalized and is recovering, according to an April 5 CDC health advisory. 

The CDC sequenced the virus collected from the patient and found it compared to the viral sequences from cattle and lacked changes that would make it better adapted to infect mammals. There were also no markers that would make it influenza antiviral drug resistant. Two existing vaccines could be used to make a vaccine for the bird flu if needed, according to the report.

This is the second patient to test positive for bird flu in the U.S. The first was reported in April 2022 in Colorado in a person who worked with poultry.

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