Bird Flu Pandemic Risk Rise as Cow Cases Keep Appearing

( – The Bird Flu has quickly been spreading across the United States as U.S. officials warn of the role that humans are playing in the spread of the virus. Currently, there are over one hundred herds in the United States that are infected with the H5N1 virus, but the number could be higher according to experts.

Poultry workers have begun to connect the dots and have said that some cases have been linked to dairy farms, which means that the virus may be spreading from cows to birds. Officials do believe that the outbreak started with contamination from migratory birds into cows via cow feed that could’ve been contaminated with bird droppings.

Now analysts have said that it is being spread between animals and farms via human activity, as stated by a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report found that the transmission is likely happening when workers, cows, and vehicles are bouncing between different farms.

A second report showed that one-third of employees at U.S. dairy farms with outbreaks also work at other farms with livestock, including sometimes swine and poultry farms. More than half the affected dairy farms across the United States share trucks and trailers that transport cows, typically in uncleaned trucks.

Kammy Johnson, a veterinary epidemiologist with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said, “Biosecurity is the key to prevention.” The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is by decontaminating everything that goes from farm to farm.

Experts aren’t sure if the outbreak will continue to grow, but they do expect to find more cases in cows and potentially humans as it spreads.

The CDC’s principal deputy director, Nirav Shah, said, “The more infections there are among cows, the more risk there is for infections to occur among humans.”

Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services spoke out as well about the virus. “The fact that it’s in 20% of our milk supply should be disturbing to everyone because that means it’s gone around already,” Becerra stated. “If it starts to jump, that’s when we really have to worry.”

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