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Avian flu confirmed in Colorado dairy farm worker

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CDPHE said the man contracted the virus through his work at a dairy farm in northeast Colorado.

COLORADO, USA — A dairy farm worker in northeast Colorado tested positive for the H5N1 avian flu strain after being infected at his work, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Education (CDPHE) said in a release.

The man had direct contact with dairy cows that were infected with the virus, CDPHE said. The man had mild symptoms, reporting only getting pink eye, the health department said. He was given antiviral treatment along with oseltamivir, CDPHE said.

The man reported his symptoms to state health officials, who then tested him for avian influenza. CDPHE’s results were inconclusive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. More specimens were sent to the CDC for additional testing, which confirmed the infection.

This case marks the fourth human avian flu case in the U.S. due to an ongoing multistate outbreak of avian flu in dairy cattle, the CDC said. The other confirmed cases were in Texas, with one case, and Michigan, with two infections.

This is the first human case of avian flu in Colorado since 2022, CDPHE said.

“The risk to most people remains low. Avian flu viruses are currently spreading among animals, but they are not adapted to spread from person to person,” state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. “Right now, the most important thing to know is that people who have regular exposure to infected animals are at increased risk of infection and should take precautions when they have contact with sick animals.” 

Pasteurized milk and properly handled and cooked meats are safe to eat and drink, state health officials said. 

Health officials did not say at what dairy farm the man works due to patient privacy.

FROM APRIL: Pasteurized milk samples contained remnants of bird flu virus, FDA says

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Avian flu confirmed in Colorado dairy farm worker
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