In the First Human Instance of Avian Flu in the United States, an Inmate Tests Positive!

A Colorado convict has become the first person in the United States to test positive for bird flu, which is still affecting birds and poultry across the country.

The individual, who is under the age of 40, was involved in culling poultry that was suspected of being infected with the virus, according to the CDC and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The individual, an inmate at a state correctional facility in Delta County, about 100 miles southwest of Aspen, was exposed while working with sick poultry at a commercial farm in Montrose County, about 50 miles distant, according to a CDPHE press release.

The farm work is part of a pre-release employment program in which convicts are compensated to work for private businesses.

The virus was discovered in a single nose specimen from the individual by Colorado health officials, and the result was confirmed by the CDC on April 27.

According to the CDC, the individual was asymptomatic and only complained of exhaustion for a few days. He has subsequently recovered, but he is still being isolated and given Tamiflu, an antiviral medicine.

The individual had ten close connections, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist for the CDPHE, who were either coworker on the farm, lived with him, or utilized the same transportation services as him. They were all found to be negative.

The man tested negative for influenza on multiple occasions.

In the First Human Instance of Avian Flu in the United States, an Inmate Tests Positive

“We don’t know if this person was truly infected or not, and we may never know for sure,” Herlihy added. “We don’t know if this guy was infected, which means the virus was present and multiplying in his body, or if this person’s nose was contaminated on the surface.

You can have a virus in your nose, and it can be discovered with a test, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s infecting you.”

The CDC also stated that avian flu discovery could be the consequence of surface contamination.

Officials claim that the virus poses little risk to the general public and that there is no proof that it transmits from person to person.

“We know that this is largely a health issue for animals,” Herlihy stated. “Many viruses are spread within a species but not between them… Everything we know about the virus so far indicates that it is only transmitted between avian species.”

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According to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture, bird flu has been discovered in commercial and backyard birds in 29 states, as well as wild birds in 34 states, since late 2021.

The CDC said that more than 2,500 persons who had direct contact with contaminated animals were tested for bird flu and found to be negative.

Human infections with bird flu are uncommon, although direct contact with diseased poultry or wild birds raises the risk.

Health experts in the United Kingdom discovered the first human instance of this virus in an asymptomatic patient who had been breeding infected birds.

Officials say eggs and chicken are safe to eat, though the USDA always recommends careful handling and cooking of poultry products.

Poultry owners or handlers should look for signs of bird flu in their flocks and keep an eye on feed and water supplies to avoid contamination, according to health officials.

People should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry or birds, as well as surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds, according to Herlihy.

Those who must handle sick or dead birds should wear gloves and wash their hands afterward with soap and water.