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The risk of bird flu to humans is low, but remains low, but is still a major concern

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The risk of bird flu to humans is low, but remains low, but is still a major concern

The risk of bird flu to humans is low, but remains low, but is still a major concern – The risk to public health remains low, but concerns about where bird flu will end up continue to increase.

Since March, infections have reached 94 dairy herds in 12 states, and former CDC director Robert Redfield predicts an avian flu pandemic will end. According to Redfield, it’s only a matter of time.

The three-year bird flu outbreak has affected six continents. Commercial poultry in the US has been hit hard, losing 80 million chickens and 14 million turkeys to the flu since 2022. The losses include 71 million laying hens.

Mammals have succumbed to bird flu in 31 states, including foxes, skunks, mountain lions, domestic cats and others. It has infected three farm workers this year and another in early 2022; all recovered from a cough without fever and pink eye.

The flu virus does not yet spread from person to person. The virus does not bind to human receptors; it must mutate to make the leap to humans.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said twenty-four companies are working to develop an avian flu vaccine for livestock to combat the spread of the virus among U.S. dairy herds.

Such a vaccine could limit the risk of bird flu spreading to new strains and reduce potential economic losses for dairy farmers, but it could take years to develop.

The USDA is also conducting preliminary research on a vaccine at its laboratory in Ames, IA.

The European Union has signed contracts for 40 million doses of a bird flu vaccine for 15 member states, focusing on 15 with a rise in cases of the respiratory virus.

The EU is quickly purchasing up to 665,000 vaccine doses – which can be adapted to any strain of bird flu – from Australia-based manufacturer CSL Seqirus. The deal includes delivering 40 million vaccines over the next four years.

The first European country to offer vaccines to at-risk populations is Finland.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 912 human cases of H5N1 bird flu have been recorded worldwide since 1997, most resulting from close contact with infected animals. The mortality rate for these cases is approximately 50 percent.

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