Second US human case of avian influenza is confirmed


A Michigan farmworker who had regular contact with livestock was confirmed to have contracted the virus.



Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Contagion, a dvm360 sister publication.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced the state’s first case of influenza A (H5N1) virus, otherwise known avian influenza. in a human. The identified patient is a farmworker who had regular exposure to livestock infected with influenza A. The farmworker diagnosed with infection had mild symptoms and has since recovered.

“Michigan has led a swift public health response, and we have been tracking this situation closely since influenza A (H5N1) was detected in poultry and dairy herds in Michigan. Farmworkers who have been exposed to impacted animals have been asked to report even mild symptoms, and testing for the virus has been made available,” Natasha Bagdasarian, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FACP, chief medical executive, for the State of Michigan, said in a statement.

This follows extensive public heath actions over the course of the last few months by the state of Michigan to allow farmworkers to monitor and notify local public health officials should they have symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk to the public remains low; To protect farm and farmworker privacy, additional details are not being provided.

MDARD said it continues to implement a proactive, science-based approach to mitigating the spread of H5N1. Michigan's response to H5N1 has been a one-health approach, working with federal, state and local partners to address animal and public health concerns rapidly. Three US Department of Agriculture (USDA) emergency management teams have been on the ground assisting MDARD in day-to-day responses at all impacted poultry facilities statewide. An epidemiological team from USDA is also deployed to further assist in tracing and testing within dairy herds to be able to provide real-time information.

This news comes less than 2 months after the first human case of avian influenza A in the United States was reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).2 That person became infected following contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with avian influenza. The person’s primary symptom has been conjunctivitis and is being treated with an antiviral. The person was told to isolate while in recovery.2

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  1. 1. First case of influenza A (H5) detected in Michigan resident. Michigan Health and Human Services news statement. May 22, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024.
  2. Parkinson J. Avian Flu Reported in First American This Year. Contagion. April 2, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024.
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