Second Bird Flu Case Diagnosed In U.S.

(Lansing, MI) — A second person in the U.S. has been diagnosed with bird flu. The individual is a Michigan farmworker who had regular exposure to infected livestock. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the person had mild symptoms and has recovered.

Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, said in a press release that the general public’s health risk is low with no signs of sustained human-to-human transmission. The farmworker’s case is the second linked to the outbreak of the virus in dairy cows. At least 51 herds in nine states reported infections.

Below is a statement from Matt Herrick, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications, International Dairy Foods Association:

Dear Dairy Community,

Earlier today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced a case of influenza A (H5) virus identified in a Michigan farmworker who had regular exposure to livestock infected with influenza A (H5). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the risk to the public remains low; the Michigan farmworker diagnosed with influenza A (H5) had mild symptoms and has recovered. To protect farm and farmworker privacy, additional details were not being provided.

You can learn more about the Michigan case in the state’s news release here.

To date, H5N1 has been confirmed positive in approximately 52 dairy herds in 9 states, including Michigan. IDFA has additional resources related to H5N1 available here.

The confirmation of a second human positive for H5N1 influenza underscores the need for continued vigilance and the importance of biosecurity best practices to mitigate risk among farm workers and reduce the threat of H5N1. IDFA is aligned with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in that dairy farmers and the dairy industry must continue to work with veterinarians and local, state, and federal officials to implement best practices and monitor this ongoing situation.

The U.S. commercial milk supply remains safe, as has been proven through rigorous government testing that has reaffirmed the effectiveness of pasteurization in killing H5N1. The federal pasteurized milk ordinance (PMO) is the global standard for milk safety, ensuring no milk from cows exposed to HPAI or other illnesses enters the food supply and should milk from any asymptomatic dairy cow enter a processing facility, pasteurization will destroy H5N1 as well as other viruses and pathogens.

We will continue to monitor this situation and share information.