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Colorado Man Becomes Fourth Person Infected with Avian Influenza

July 8, 2024
He had mild bird flu symptoms and has already recovered; three of the four human victims were in different states.

A dairy farm worker in northeast Colorado is the fourth confirmed case of avian influenza (bird flu) in humans in the U.S. The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment publicized the finding July 3, although he apparently contracted the disease in late June.

“The adult male had mild symptoms, reporting only conjunctivitis (pink eye),” said the state health agency. “He reported his symptoms to state health officials, who tested him for influenza at the State Public Health Laboratory. Specimens forwarded to CDC for additional testing were positive for avian flu. CDPHE gave the individual antiviral treatment with oseltamivir in accordance with CDC guidance. He has recovered.”

All four victims of bird flu have recovered, and all four were farm workers. Officials identified the first case of animal-to-human transmission in late 2022, to an incarcerated person who was exposed to infected chickens at a Colorado poultry farm, according to USA Today. This year, one human infection was confirmed in Texas and two cases in Michigan, all involving exposure to dairy herds, not poultry.

Although the current bout of avian influenza started in 2022, and possibly 2021, the disease spread to dairy cattle early this year. It’s also spreading around the world. A group of European nations is funding development of a vaccine, and Finland became the first to supply the vaccine to certain farm workers.

In the U.S., Moderna at the end of June was awarded $176 million by the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the FDA’s parent, to accelerate the development of mRNA-based avian influenza vaccines for humans. U.S. food safety and health officials apparently have laid plans in case this because a widespread pandemic.

 

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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