CDC Issues Update on H5 Viruses in the United States

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infections have been reported in U.S. domestic poultry (backyard and commercial flocks), captive wild birds, and wild birds. HPAI H5 detections began in December 2014 and have continued into April 2015.

No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time, however similar viruses have infected people in other countries and caused serious illness and death in some cases. While the public health risk posed by these domestic HPAI outbreaks is considered low at this time, it is possible that human infections with these viruses may occur.

Most human infections with avian influenza viruses have occurred after close and prolonged contact with infected birds or the excretions/secretions of infected birds (e.g., droppings, oral fluids). The Cenetrs for Diseae Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted guidance for clinicians and public health professionals, and is working with state health departments and animal health colleagues to minimize public health risk.

CDC Recommendations for the Public

•As a general precaution, people should avoid wild birds and observe them only from a distance; avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died; and avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.
•People who have had contact with infected bird(s) should monitor their own health for possible symptoms (for example, conjunctivitis, or flu-like symptoms).
•People who have had contact with infected birds may also be given influenza antiviral drugs preventatively.
•Health care providers evaluating patients with possible HPAI H5 infection should notify their local or state health departments which in turn should notify CDC. CDC is providing case-by-case guidance at this time.
•There is no evidence that any human cases of avian influenza have ever been acquired by eating properly cooked poultry products.
Source: CDC

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