HPAI infection reported in a Texas person exposed to dairy cattle Sarah Gonzalez April 5, 2024

HPAI infection reported in a Texas person exposed to dairy cattle

By David Fairfield, Senior Vice President, Feed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 1 issued a press release indicating that a person in Texas who had exposure to dairy cattle presumed to be infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has tested positive for the virus. CDC reports the person’s only symptom was eye redness (consistent with conjunctivitis) and that the individual is recovering.

CDC states the infection does not change its HPAI human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which the Center considers to be low. However, CDC says that people with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals (including livestock) or to environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals are at greater risk of infection. This case represents the second person reported to have tested positive for HPAI in the United States. A previous human case occurred in 2022 in Colorado. Human infections with HPAI viruses are uncommon but have occurred sporadically worldwide. CDC indicates that human illnesses with HPAI have ranged from mild (e.g., eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms) to severe illness (e.g., pneumonia).

CDC has made interim recommendations for prevention, monitoring, and public health investigations of HPAI viruses. The recommendations include general guidelines for the public, as well as specific recommendations for farmers, and poultry, backyard poultry and livestock owners and workers.

To date, USDA has confirmed the detection of HPAI in dairy herds in Texas (7) Kansas (2), Idaho (1), Michigan (1), New Mexico (1), and Ohio (1). Going forward, APHIS will post confirmed detections of HPAI in livestock on its landing page by 4 p.m. eastern each day.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has created a landing page with recent announcements pertaining to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detections in livestock, as well as biosecurity information and other resources. APHIS has also prepared a Frequently Asked Questions document, as well as a document with recommendations for state animal health officials, veterinarians, and producers.