Texas Confirms Its First Human Bird Flu Case

Texas Department of State Health Services reported human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus.
Bird flu 2024
2024 Texas Farm Bureau
Austin (Precision Vaccinations News)

Recent reports indicate that the multi-year, global outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus has reached the state of Texas.

In late March 2024, the Texas Animal Health Commission announced that dairy cattle in the Texas Panhandle had tested positive for avian influenza A(H5N1).

Subsequently, on April 1, 2024, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported one confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in Texas. The affected person had direct exposure to dairy cattle suspected of being infected with avian influenza.

The patient is being treated with an antiviral drug.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the detection of HPAI in five additional dairy herds in Texas.

The USDA reported that the HAPI strain found is similar to the strain confirmed initially in cattle in Texas and Kansas.

This strain appears to have been introduced by wild birds (H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade, which indicates the virus jumped from birds to cows.

Furthermore, these HAPI cases do not change the risk for the general public, which remains low.

However, the DSHS says in today's press release that this 'bird flu' case is concerning and warrants close monitoring of the situation.

In response, DSHS issued a Health Alert asking healthcare providers around affected dairies to be vigilant for possible human cases and is providing testing and treatment recommendations.

According to TexasFarmbureau.org, Texas's 2023 dairy cattle population included over 4 million beef cows, 635,000 milk cows, and 4.25 million calves.

Providers should consider the possibility of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection in those with influenza symptoms and relevant exposure history.

This includes people who have had close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed avian influenza A(H5N1) infection, affected animals, or unpasteurized milk from dairy farms with suspected avian influenza A(H5N1) infection.

A close contact is defined as a person who has been within 6 feet of a confirmed or probable avian influenza A(H5N1) case for a prolonged period or has had direct contact with infectious secretions. In contrast, the case was likely to be contagious, beginning one day before illness onset and continuing until the resolution of illness.

From a prevention perspective, bird flu vaccines have been approved and produced as of April 2024.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 million H5N1 and 12 million H7N9 vaccines were available in the National Strategic Stockpile in 2023.

One vaccine, CSL Seqirus Inc. Audenz™ monovalent, adjuvanted, cell-based inactivated subunit vaccine, received its initial U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approval in January 2020.

These bird flu vaccines are not commercially available in the United States. Moreover, the CDC says annual flu shots do not offer protection against this type of influenza virus.

Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee

Article by
Donald Hackett