Person tests positive for bird flu in Colorado; case found in 8th Nebraska flock

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Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 9:20 PM CDT
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(WOWT) - The CDC reported Thursday night that a person in Colorado has tested positive for avian influenza, or H5N1 bird flu.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release that the person was younger than age 40 who worked at a commercial poultry farm in Montrose County.

“We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to them is low,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

According to a CDC news release, the patient was involved in killing flocks presumed to be infected with H5N1. Because of that, though the CDC said they can’t verify the person didn’t test positive because of some sort of surface contamination, the case was being treated as an actual infection.

Both agencies said the infected person’s only reported symptom was fatigue, which they experienced for a few days before they recovered. The CDC said noting the person was in isolation and receiving oseltamivir as a treatment. The antiviral is also used to treat swine flu, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The CDC reports that it has more than 2,500 people with exposures to H5N1 virus-infected birds to date, but have only confirmed the one case so far.

“Other people involved in the culling operation in Colorado have tested negative for H5 virus infection, but they are being retested out of an abundance of caution,” the release states.

H5N1 viruses have been found among commercial and backyard bird flocks in 29 U.S. states as well as wild birds in 34 states, according to the CDC.

The CDC said it considers the risk of spread to the general public to be low, noting that those with direct exposure to birds would be at higher risk of infection, advising them to take the proper precautions.

“Infected birds shed H5N1 viruses in their saliva, mucous, and feces,” the release states.

The first H5N1 case was confirmed in December 2021 in the U.K., the CDC reports. That person, who raised birds that became infected with the virus, reported no symptoms.

Also on Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the USDA announced an eighth site of bird flu contamination had been found. The small backyard mixed flock, located in Washington County, was currently under quarantine and was scheduled for disposal after a case was confirmed there.

NDA also reported that they were monitoring a positive HPAI case identified in a backyard flock in Republic County, Kan., as the exposure area extends into Nuckolls County in south-central Nebraska.

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