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Discussion thread: H5N1 avian flu in US Dairy Cows - March 24+ - 10 human cases

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    How to Pinpoint the H5N1 Mortality Rate in Humans''

    Avian flu is reported to kill more than half the people it infects. The reality is much more complicated.

    BY TERESA CARR
    07.22.2024
    ...
    Like many experts, Peter Palese, a microbiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, thinks that the CFR of 52 percent for H5N1 calculated by the WHO likely overestimates the disease’s severity. To meet the WHO’s definition of an H5N1 case, the person must have had a fever and tested positive for the virus in a lab with the technical capacity to follow WHO protocols. Because many of the outbreaks have been in rural areas without sufficient testing capabilities, the case count is drawn almost exclusively from patients who were sick enough to be hospitalized. Meanwhile, said Palese, many milder infections likely went undetected, although the exact number of those silent infections is unknown.

    “It is not completely clear whether these high fatality rates are real,” said Palese.

    “These numbers are something we have to use because we don’t have something better, but people in the business are aware that they are potentially deceptive.”


    Outbreaks are like an iceberg where serious infections are immediately visible, but the larger numbers of mild infections are out of sight below the water line, said Malik Peiris, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong with extensive experience with H5N1. One of the best ways to get a more accurate case count, he said, is to test community members’ blood for antibodies against H5N1, which would indicate a previous infection: “That gives you a much more accurate picture of the bottom of the iceberg.”

    Researchers have conducted dozens of such studies. But results from that research, said Peiris, “are a bit mixed and somewhat confusing.” While antibody studies of some H5N1 outbreaks find evidence of widespread mild infections, studies of other H5N1 outbreaks do not, even among people who worked closely with infected birds. Peiris described the disparity as “rather puzzling.”

    It’s possible, said Peiris, that antibody tests miss some cases. Type A influenza viruses such as H5N1 are characterized by the combination of two proteins on their surface: hemagglutinin, which can be one of 18 types numbered H1 to H18, and neuraminidase, numbered N1 to N11. Compared to the H1 and H3 proteins in the influenza A viruses responsible for seasonal flu, H5 proteins trigger a weaker response from the immune system, said Peiris: “People may be getting mildly infected, but it’s not enough to elicit an antibody response.”

    ...
    Avian flu is reported to kill more than half the people it infects. The reality is much more complicated.

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  • Pathfinder
    replied

    Influenza A Virus Wastewater Data

    Updated July 19, 2024

    Main Findings from Wastewater Surveillance

    During the two most recent weeks, (June 30, 2024–July 13, 2024), a total of 301 of 743 sites reported data meeting criteria for analysis for influenza A virus for both weeks or for either week, and 1 (<1%) site from 1 state was at a high level (>80th percentile compared to levels recorded at that site between October 1, 2023 and March 2, 2024).
    ...
    Data Table
    ...
    Id:137 7 California Plumas Above Average 67.86 Two-Week Maximum <10,000 2023-01-03
    Id:164 7 California San Luis Obispo Above Average 66.67 Two-Week Maximum 30,000 2022-02-28
    Id:494 7 Illinois Vermilion Above Average 66.67 Two-Week Maximum 30,000 2022-10-06
    Id:1719 7 Oregon Clackamas Above Average 65.38 Two-Week Maximum 30,000 2023-09-27
    Id:1729 9 Oregon Jackson High 85.0 Two-Week Maximum 20,000 2021-09-27

    ...

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  • Pathfinder
    replied


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  • Chicagogal
    replied
    Originally posted by Pathfinder View Post

    According to this study:
    ...
    The presence of H5 in municipal wastewater indicates that contributions into the wastewater system include excretions or byproducts containing influenza viral RNA with an H5 subtype, but do not indicate the species that may be shedding an H5 influenza.
    ...
    GO TO POST
    Except flu doesn't generally replicate well in summer.

    Los Angeles Times An unusual surge in flu viruses detected at wastewater treatment plants in California and other parts of the country is raising concerns among some experts that H5N1 bird flu may …

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  • Commonground
    replied
    Despite bird flu anxiety in the dairy barn, a yearly tradition carries on at an Iowa county fair


    By Eric Boodman

    July 16, 2024
    ​Decorah, Iowa — It was livestock check-in day at the Winneshiek County Fair, and the dairy barn was consumed with a kind of pre-prom anxiety.​
    ...

    Just as authorities fretted about Christmas Covid spikes, so vets are trying to prevent trailers from clanking back home with microscopic stowaways replicating in udder cells.

    They’re also hoping to avert inter-species spread. Cow-to-chicken could wipe out a whole poultry flock. Cow-to-pig could put the virus into an efficient mutation machine, potentially allowing a pathogen that prefers udders and bird intestines to become one that likes living in our lungs. Though the handful of human infections documented so far in farmworkers have been mild, cow-to-human is a real risk, too. The longer H5N1 circulates in cattle, the more it poses a pandemic risk for us.
    ​---
    States like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have so far allowed lactating dairy cows at shows, but only if they’re flu-tested in the seven days before they arrive. In Colorado, meanwhile, such precautions are recommended but not required.​
    ...
    To the outside eye, the occupants of the Winneshiek County dairy barn seemed relaxed. When they weren’t coiffing or cleaning up after their cattle, they lounged in beach chairs, popping fried cheese curds, enjoying the breeze of industrial fans. But there was an undercurrent of concern: They didn’t want anyone overstating the flu threat or giving their industry a bad rap. “Our milk is totally 100% safe to drink because everything’s pasteurized,” said Mark Knutson, who milks around 400 cows in Ossian. “But, you know, the media gets hold of it, blows it out of proportion, scares everybody.”​ Then again, he thought some precautions made sense. Knutson is on the fair board, which had canceled this year’s open-class dairy show — partially because of low enrollment, partially because of bird flu risk — bringing the number of lactating cows down to a tenth of what it might’ve been.​
    ---

    To D.M., the co-owner of a herd of 500, who wanted to be identified only by initials, testing was the reason he was sitting this year’s cow shows out.

    They’ll test the cows’ milk, that way they’ll find out if there’s any more of it out there, which is none of their business, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. If bird flu had arrived on his farm, he didn’t want to know. He’d of course isolate any sick animals in the sick pen, and discard their milk, the way he always does. The cows are his livelihood. He takes care to keep them healthy, and to keep his product pristine. But he’s too afraid of the stigma that might accompany a positive test — so afraid that he wouldn’t even apply to the federal program that would reimburse him for liquid pounds he couldn’t sell, leaving money on the table. Vets were hearing such views from other clients, too, and nationally, only around 30 producers have applied for government compensation.

    “If it shows up, you don’t know if your creamery is going to keep taking your milk,” he said, even though the protocol is for sales to start back up again after a 30-day hiatus.

    For now, that was probably hypothetical. While Iowa had recorded 13 infected herds, there hadn’t yet been any reported cases on dairies in the state’s northeast corner; the closest ones were a few hours to the west, or north in Minnesota. But in his and some of his neighbors’ views, it was only a matter of time. They talked as if spread were inevitable, bovine H5N1 on its way to being endemic, an annoying fact of life that dairies just have to deal with.

    Complete article: https://www.statnews.com/2024/07/16/...-county-fairs/

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  • Treyfish
    replied

    Bird flu snapshot: As the number of infected dairy herds mount, so too does pessimism about driving H5N1 out of cows​There are more human cases of H5N1 bird flu infection, and another state has joined the list of those with infected dairy cow herds.

    Colorado announced Sunday night that five workers involved in the culling of chickens at an H5N1-infected poultry operation had tested positive for the virus. Four of the cases have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the fifth is currently deemed “presumptive” positive because the individual’s test sample hasn’t yet reached the CDC. All five had mild symptoms — conjunctivitis and minor respiratory complaints. None required hospitalization.

    Additional testing by the CDC is needed to fully characterize the viruses responsible for these infections. But assuming they are the same as the one circulating in cows (which has occasionally spilled over into poultry operations), these cases will bring to nine the number of human infections recorded since this outbreak was first detected in late March. The CDC, at the request of the state, is helping investigate the new human cases in Colorado.

    And on Friday came news that another state had discovered a bird flu-infected herd. Oklahoma announced that a sample collected in April that was only recently tested was found to be positive. No explanation was given for the remarkably slow turnaround in the testing of the sample. Oklahoma called itself the 13th state to find H5N1 in dairy cattle, but in reality its place on the list should be lower, as several states only discovered positive herds in May and June.
    ​…..

    These new human and animal developments support a blunt risk assessment from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, which gave voice to a rising sense of pessimism about the prospects for containing the H5N1 outbreak in cows in a recent report.

    “There are no clear signs that the outbreak is or is about to come under control,” the 26-page document on the public health risks associated with the ongoing spread states plainly.
    ​………

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  • Commonground
    replied
    Idaho's avian flu outbreak in dairies is largely self-monitored; experts warn of potential health risks

    July 15, 2024
    Excerpts:

    Idaho dairy producers are navigating one of the worst outbreaks of an avian flu strain in the U.S., and from an animal health and public health standpoint, the situation is largely self-monitored.
    ...

    “I don’t know if this will turn out to be a pandemic, but we’re watching all the ingredients, and we’re watching that sequence,” said Dr. David Pate, retired president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health System. “Certainly, if you were planning out how we think a pandemic would occur, this is what you would be planning out.

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pate and another Idaho doctor, Dr. Ted Epperly, wrote the book “Preparing for the Next Global Outbreak” and Pate has been watching the avian flu outbreak closely. He argues that more should be done to prepare in case the situation becomes more dangerous for human health
    ​...

    As of July 12, there are 18 facilities in nine Idaho counties under quarantine, including two in Canyon County. The last reported detection in Idaho was on June 20, and producers feel that the state may have reached its peak and is showing signs of decline in the spread of the virus, said Idaho Dairymen’s Association CEO Rick Naerebout.

    However, this may change when migratory birds start returning to the state for the winter, he said.
    ...
    This is a big hit to Idaho, which has more than 400 dairy operations and ranks third in U.S. for milk production, according to the Idaho Dairymen’s Association.​

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    Originally posted by Chicagogal View Post
    Can we interpret 8 states with positive cows, and the same 8 states with wastewater positives as limited human transmission?

    Or are we still thinking this could be farm runoff?
    According to this study:
    ...
    The presence of H5 in municipal wastewater indicates that contributions into the wastewater system include excretions or byproducts containing influenza viral RNA with an H5 subtype, but do not indicate the species that may be shedding an H5 influenza.
    ...
    GO TO POST

    Leave a comment:


  • Pathfinder
    replied
    He reported a possible H5N1 outbreak in dairy cows. It took officials weeks to respond

    By Susanne Rust
    Staff Writer
    July 12, 2024 Updated 1:47 PM PT
    ...
    The outbreak claim comes from Mark McAfee, owner of Raw Farms, a raw milk dairy producer with herds in Fresno and Hanford. On June 17, McAfee — who is also the president of the Raw Milk Institute, an advocacy group — emailed the FDA’s acting director, Donald Prater, to say that he’d been told a raw milk dairy herd had been infected and that people had probably consumed the contaminated milk.

    According to McAfee’s email, which was shared with The Times, a subset of a farmer’s cows were suffering yellowish, runny diarrhea; low milk production; thick, yellowish colostrum; and general weakness. The farmer told McAfee he had separated the sick cows — about 10% of his herd — and discontinued milking them.

    “The farmer reported that for certain, humans had consumed the raw milk at some level,” McAfee wrote to Prater, adding that the farmer’s veterinarian “told the farmer to not report anything to anyone” because the virus would pass and “he did not want the FDA to swoop in and cause a media frenzy.”
    ...
    Within 90 minutes of sending the email, Prater responded that he appreciated the time McAfee had taken to write the note and “for sharing these perspectives.” He then added that he and his agency would “take note of the points you raised and come back to you if we have any questions.”

    According to McAfee, the FDA did not follow up with him. The state of New Mexico, where McAfee says the herd was infected, was made aware of the tip only last week, after the Times inquired.
    ...

    A raw milk dairy farmer and longtime critic of the FDA has accused officials of ignoring his tip about a possible H5N1 outbreak among dairy cows in New Mexico.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mary Wilson
    replied
    3 Colorado poultry workers identified as potential bird flu cases after outbreak at commercial egg facility

    Posted: 7:47 PM, Jul 12, 2024
    Updated: 2:10 PM, Jul 13, 2024
    By: Óscar Contreras​​

    DENVER — Three Colorado poultry workers at a commercial egg-laying facility in northeast Colorado have tested presumptive positive for bird flu, state health officials said Friday, underscoring the need to get a virus that’s already killed more than 6 million birds and which is now infecting dairy cattle across the state under control.

    The three additional cases — which have yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — would mean Colorado isn’t just leading the nation in the number of bird flu outbreaks among dairy cattle, but more importantly, in the number of people infected by the H5N1 virus.

    If confirmed by the CDC, the three additional cases would mean Colorado has now detected five cases of H5N1 among poultry and dairy workers since the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza was first detected in the state in March of 2022.

    In a statement early Friday evening, a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said the workers were culling poultry at a farm in northeast Colorado and exhibited mild symptoms, including conjunctivitis, or pink eye, as well as “common respiratory infection symptoms.” The statement from the CDPHE did not expand on what those respiratory symptoms were and did not say whether antiviral treatment had been given to the workers who tested presumptive positive for the virus. Denver7 was not able to reach anyone from the department by phone or email Friday evening to answer those questions. ...



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  • Chicagogal
    replied
    Can we interpret 8 states with positive cows, and the same 8 states with wastewater positives as limited human transmission?

    Or are we still thinking this could be farm runoff?

    Leave a comment:


  • Commonground
    replied
    #298
    Today, 02:50 PM
    From X:
    Love thy neighbor: wear an N95😷
    @CCSDMaskUp

    Fantastic timing … the day before the kickoff of the Weld County Fair, 1 week before the main event, likely the largest gathering of the Wld County community and Agriculture Workers and animals in the county.​​
    X:
    DMT_persists
    @DPersists
    {"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","src":"https:\/\/abs-0.twimg.com\/emoji\/v2\/svg\/26a0.svg"}[/IMG2]
    Please cancel/restrict upcoming Weld County Fair events
    @GovofCO Polis State of Emergency
    1.8M 2 egg layer cull
    #H5N1 3 workers
    Positive dairy herds
    County Fair mixing vessel of swine sheep poultry cattle horses
    Extreme heat


    @CDPHE @coagriculture1 @COEmergency @RickABright

    Leave a comment:


  • Commonground
    replied
    Originally posted by sharon sanders View Post
    Again, I am so disappointed in how the H5N1 situation has been handled. It is just unreal. Oklahoma identified with an H5N1 herd situation months after a sample was taken.

    The current human debacle....defying protocols. All humans in contact with infected herds should be ROUTINELY isolated and tested IMMEDIATELY. This is a known protocol throughout the world. I could go on and on.......

    Mind-blowing.
    If you look at Colorado's Public Health and Environmental Health Plan for 2024, this does not surprise me. Reading the Message from the Director, as well as Colorado's 2024 Public Health Priorities, in the month of July, I can understand how it all just got shoved under the rug.

    Leave a comment:


  • Commonground
    replied
    From X:


    Love thy neighbor: wear an N95😷
    @CCSDMaskUp

    Fantastic timing … the day before the kickoff of the Weld County Fair, 1 week before the main event, likely the largest gathering of the Wld County community and Agriculture Workers and animals in the county.​
    See the 2024 Weld County Fair Schedule of Shows and Events

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied

    Again, I am so disappointed in how the H5N1 situation has been handled. It is just unreal. Oklahoma identified with an H5N1 herd situation months after a sample was taken.

    The current human debacle....defying protocols. All humans in contact with infected herds should be ROUTINELY isolated and tested IMMEDIATELY. This is a known protocol throughout the world. I could go on and on.......

    Mind-blowing.

    Leave a comment:

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