U.S – Amidst mounting concerns over avian influenza, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a second human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1, commonly known as “bird flu,” on April 1, 2024.

The individual, residing in Texas, tested positive for the virus after exposure to infected dairy cattle, marking a significant escalation in the ongoing outbreak.

The recent case follows the first human instance of HPAI H5N1 reported in 2022 in Colorado. The outbreak initially emerged in U.S. wild bird and poultry populations in late 2021, with the first confirmed case in commercial poultry recorded in March 2022.

Notably, HPAI cases in dairy cows were first documented in Texas and Kansas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 25, 2024, intensifying concerns over the spread of the disease.

In response to the escalating crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has elevated HPAI to the “highest priority” within its Human Foods Program.

James (Jim) Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Human Food at FDA, revealed during an April 4 webinar hosted by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, the establishment of a dedicated Incident Management Team (IMT) to address the evolving public health and food safety threat posed by HPAI.

The agency is particularly focused on safeguarding the U.S. milk supply, engaging with the dairy industry to reinforce pasteurization protocols and requirements.

FDA, CDC, USDA, and state veterinary and public health officials are collaboratively investigating the HPAI outbreak among domestic dairy cows.

Since March 25, 2024, a total of 15 confirmed cases have been reported in dairy milking cattle across six states, including Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.