< Back to 68k.news US front page

What to Know About the Bird Flu Outbreak in Dairy Cows

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1] [2]

You have a preview view of this article while we are checking your access. When we have confirmed access, the full article content will load.

The infections, which include one associated human case, add another worrying wrinkle to a global outbreak that has devastated bird and marine mammal populations.

Bird flu has been detected in dairy herds in multiple states, including Texas, Kansas and New Mexico.Credit...Alexandra Genova for The New York Times

An unusual bird flu outbreak in dairy cows has now affected at least 13 herds in six states, according to federal and state officials. These infections represent the first time that a highly pathogenic bird flu virus, which is often fatal in birds, has been detected in U.S. cattle.

At least one person in Texas has been diagnosed with bird flu after having contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected, state officials said on Monday. The patient's primary symptom was conjunctivitis; the individual is being treated with an antiviral drug and is recovering, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus has been identified as the same version of H5N1, an influenza subtype, that is circulating in North American birds. Scientists have not found evidence that the virus has acquired the mutations it would need to spread easily between humans, officials have said.

The risk to the general public remains low, experts said. But these developments add a worrying dimension to an avian influenza outbreak that has already affected millions of birds and sea mammals worldwide.

Here's what to know:

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a group of flu viruses that are primarily adapted to birds. The particular virus in these new cases, called H5N1, was first identified in 1996 in geese in China, and in people in Hong Kong in 1997.

In 2020, a new, highly pathogenic form of H5N1 emerged in Europe and spread quickly around the world. In the United States, it has affected more than 82 million farmed birds, the worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

< Back to 68k.news US front page