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Bird Flu Detected in Individual Who Came into Contact with Infected Cattle

Epidemiologists are closely monitoring the potential for human-to-human transmission of the pathogen, a phenomenon that has occurred very rarely worldwide and typically among family members involved with animals.
A person in Texas is being treated for bird flu, marking the second case of the disease caused by a highly virulent virus that has swept through five states in recent weeks, affecting milking cows - federal and state officials reported on Monday, according to The Washington Post.

The patient, whose only symptom was conjunctivitis, underwent an influenza test last weekend, which was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patient is being treated with the antiviral drug oseltamivir. Officials stated that this case does not alter the risk to the general public, which remains low. On Monday, Texas authorities reported that the person had direct contact with dairy cattle believed to be infected with bird flu.

This case has alarmed epidemiologists who are wary of the worst-case scenario: the pathogen spreading from person to person. Such occurrences have been extremely rare worldwide and are typically confined to family members who handle animals. Nonetheless, the situation raises questions about whether this pathogen is now spreading more easily among mammals as well.

Federal officials, however, stated that the infection does not change the CDC's assessment of the bird flu risk to human health in the United States, which is considered low.

Epidemiologists are concerned about the increasing number of mammals infected with highly pathogenic bird flu worldwide. Bird flu has been spreading globally since 2020 and has been documented to infect dozens of other mammalian species, though it rarely spreads among them. Last month, a high-pathogenicity bird flu infection was found in a baby goat in Minnesota, marking the first such case in the United States livestock population.

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