Colorado prison inmate becomes first American infected by latest outbreak of H5N1 bird flu: Caught illness during pre-release placement at poultry farm and is now recovering
- A Colorado prison inmate contracted H5N1 at Foster Farms – the first US case
- The inmate was working on the farm as part of a pre-release program
- He and other employees were involving in culling – selective slaughtering – when he contracted the disease
- The inmate is being isolated and is being treated with the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir
- The CDC said the risk of the disease spreading person-to-person is low
A Colorado prison inmate has contracted H5N1 bird flu at a poultry farm where he was placed as part of a pre-release work program.
The unnamed inmate, who is under 40, contracted the bird flu – known medically as avian influenza – at Foster Farms after being directly exposed through culling, the Montrose Press and the CDC reported.
The only symptom he reported was ‘fatigue for a few days’ and has since recovered. However, the CDC reported he is still be isolated and treated with the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture said the virus was detected after a single nasal swab and after repeat testing, he came back negative. All employees at the farm were provided personal protective equipment and they have tested negative.
A Delta Correctional inmate, who is under 40, contracted the bird flu – known medically as avian influenza – at Foster Farms after being directly exposed through culling, selective slaughtering
In order to control the outbreak, Foster Farms had to euthanized 60,000 chickens and parts of Montrose and Delta Counties has been put under a quarantine, which restricts poultry growers from moving birds, eggs, and manure off their properties, the Montrose Press reported.
This is the only case of this specific strain of H5 that the US has seen and only the second in the world. The first case was found in the UK in December 2021 in a man who was asymptomatic.
‘This case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public, which CDC considers to be low,’ the agency said in a press release. However, those who work poultry should take ‘appropriate precautions,’ it said, which includes avoiding sick or dead birds.
The employee was involved in culling, which is selective slaughtering. The Colorado Department of Agriculture said the virus was detected after a single nasal swab and after repeat testing, he came back negative. All employees at the farm were provided personal protective equipment and they have tested negative
An epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment agreed, telling the Montrose Press: ‘We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to them is low.’
More than 2,500 Americans have been exposed to the virus over the years, but this is the only case to so-far have been identified during the latest outbreak.
The virus is unlikely to spread person-to-person.
The disease has been found in backyard birds in 29 states and in wild birds in 34 states, the CDC reported.
It is, however, safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products found in the US, the CDC said, as heat will kill the virus.
Some symptoms of the disease, which can range from mild to severe, are: eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms, and pneumonia.
China reported the world’s first ever human case of the H3N8 bird flu strain this week.
A four-year-old boy from Zhumadian, in the Henan province, tested positive for the avian influenza strain, local health chiefs confirmed.
‘It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products in the US,’ the CDC reported
The child — who had a fever — had been in contact with chickens and crows raised at his home.
None of the boy’s close contacts were infected with the strain.
The H3N8 variant — one of several types of bird flu — is common in horses and dogs and has even been found in seals. Yet no human cases had been reported until now.