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Bird Flu Deaths

Concerns have elevated after the first confirmed human death, along with the deaths of dairy cattle, from avian influenza. Initial reports said that dairy cattle workers infected with the virus suffered mild symptoms and recovered. So did dairy cattle.

The case of the man in Mexico who died of bird flu is unrelated to the outbreaks at U.S. dairy farms, according to the Associated Press. Family members said the man had chronic health issues, and they were not aware how he contracted the virus. They did not believe that he had been exposed to poultry or other animals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the man’s death this week. Although, he apparently died in April.

RELATED: Here is the Associated Press story about the fatal case of bird flu in a man from Mexico. It also explains what the letters and numbers mean in bird flu names.

This strain of the bird flu was H5N2, according to the WHO. This was the first reported case of that strain of the flu in a person.

H5N1 has been the version of bird flu that U.S. health officials say has been infecting poultry flocks for the past several years. Millions of birds have had to be culled to limit the virus’ spread.

Three dairy workers, one in Texas and two in Michigan, are the only known cases of Americans contracting the bird flu, according to the USDA.

Five states – Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas – have all lost dairy cattle following bird flu infection, Reuters first reported. Some dairy cattle died from the virus. Others were killed because of secondary infections due to diminished health due to the initial bird flu infection.

The USDA has confirmed infected dairy cows in 9 states since March. Idaho, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina were all included in the USDA.

Iowa was not. Although, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced on June 5th that a dairy herd in O’Brien County, in the northwestern corner of the state, had a possible bird flu infection.

Officials were waiting for final confirmation from testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames. Naig urged dairy producers to protect their herds.

“Poultry producers and dairy farmers should immediately take steps to harden their biosecurity defenses, limit unnecessary visitors, and report symptomatic birds or cattle to the Department. This remains an evolving situation and we will continue to be in close communication with stakeholders, USDA, and other states as we evaluate our response,” Naig said in a news release.

Naig’s office included these possible signs of bird flu in dairy cows:

·         Decrease in food consumption with a simultaneous decrease in rumination

·         Clear nasal discharge

·         Drop in milk production

·         Tacky or loose feces

·         Lethargy

·         Dehydration

·         Fever

·         Thicker, concentrated, colostrum-like milk



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