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Second US human bird flu infection reported in Michigan

Jessica Nix and Riley Griffin, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

A Michigan farmworker tested positive with bird flu, the second human case of the highly pathogenic avian virus that has run rampant in U.S. cattle.

State health officials said Wednesday that the worker had mild symptoms after contact with an infected cow and has recovered. The state reported on Monday that three additional cattle herds had tested positive for the virus, also called H5N1.

The first human case of bird flu from cattle was announced in a Texas farm worker in March. The worker reported a case of conjunctivitis and was treated with an antiviral. Health officials maintain that the risk to the public remains low. So far the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported 51 herds in nine states have tested positive for bird flu.


The dairy worker, who was being monitored due to exposure to H5N1-infected cattle, reported symptoms to local health officials, according to a statement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency notified Michigan after receiving the positive result and will make results of the viral sequence available within days. It will also conduct a genetic analysis to see if the virus has mutated in a way that could make it more dangerous.

The CDC maintains that the risk to the general public remains low. The Atlanta-based public health agency said the Michigan case underscores the importance of taking precautions, such as using personal protective equipment if exposed to sick or dead livestock.

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