Contagious Bird Flu Makes Shocking Leap, Expert on High Alert 

Contagious Bird Flu Makes Shocking Leap, Expert on High Alert. Credit | AP
Contagious Bird Flu Makes Shocking Leap, Expert on High Alert. Credit | AP

United States: Meat tested positive was sourced from a slaughtered dairy cow that was culled from its herd and has been confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture on Friday to contain very low levels of H5N1 bird flu virus, and it was also established that none of this meat reached the food chain. 

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During the testing of numerous tissues, the USDA reported that viral particles of H5N1 were detected in several tissues, including the diaphragm muscle, which is located in the lower part of the respiratory system. This was in the usual framework of the food inspection processes, concluded the USDA, as CNN Health related. 

Infection in Dairy cows was detected last month 

Infectious disease experts have raised a global critical note since last month, when the USDA reported on March 25 that a dairy cow in California had a positive titer test for H5N1 influenza. 

Contagious Bird Flu Makes Shocking Leap, Expert on High Alert. Credit | CDC
Contagious Bird Flu Makes Shocking Leap, Expert on High Alert. Credit | CDC

H5N1 is a type of bird flu that is considered to be highly pathogenic and one that researchers have been following since the virus strain was spotted in 1996. 

Highly pathogenic avian influenza can cause the death of wild bird species and commercial poultry but only occasionally affects human beings. When it does, it can be fatal: Of the roughly 900 individuals known to have contracted the virus worldwide over the past 20 years, half have died. 

Thus, it has evolved in the course of the past two years and started to spread to a growing number of mammals. Apparently, they never thought the virus would appear in the cows as it was believed that the cows did not possess the receptors on their cells to contract A-strain flu viruses, but as was later revealed, they do, as CNN Health reported. 

Virus detection in the milk chain and farm workers 

Here in this outbreak the virus has primarily been identified as appearing in milk from diseased dairy cattle and that it was associated with mastitis which is an infection of the mammary gland. Its productivity declines as cows give less milk, but they are usually able to regain their strength in weeks. 

Wisconsin, at the center of the dairy cow contamination, has had two US farmworkers test positive. The eyes are affected for both of them and the symptoms included redness and swelling; however, they survived it. 

It is disappointing that, following systemic disease, a cow was found to have H5N1 on a postmortem which indicates that there are some sick animals that are not easily identified. It also indicates that the owners may have not gambled it before it was slaughtered, and other cattle in the same herd may be infected. 

USDA stated that the dead cow, which was examined on May 22, tested positive for H5N1. It has informed the owners and is also tracking the animal to the specific herd where it came from for further details, the agency stated. 

The USDA says samples taken from 95 other cows that were culled and condemned for illness tested negative for the virus as of May 22, and testing is underway on about a dozen more samples. The test the USDA used, which is called polymerase chain reaction testing or PCR, identified genetic material from the H5N1 virus, but it could not determine whether that material was infectious and could have made someone sick.