Monitoring the H5N1 avian influenza, chook flu, outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to actively monitor the continuing outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza, often known as chook flu, and says that the general public well being danger stays low.

Dr. Matthew Binnicker, director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, says scientists and public well being officers have recognized about avian influenza for many years.

"What’s different today is that since 2020, we’re seeing the largest outbreak of avian influenza among wild birds, poultry and backyard bird flocks," he says.

"The virus has also been found in certain mammalian species, most recently in dairy cattle, which is a little bit unprecedented and unique. And every time we see the virus go from birds into mammals, we worry about the virus adapting closer and closer to being able to infect and be transmitted efficiently between humans," Dr. Binnicker says.

Bird flu has been detected within the milk of dairy cattle, elevating considerations for potential transmission to people. The Food and Drug Administration discovered no traces of reside virus in dairy merchandise out there to the general public.

"The good news is that the pasteurization process used in the United States and many countries inactivates avian influenza. The milk that we drink, if it’s been pasteurized, is safe. Any animal products, such as eggs, beef or chicken, that you would cook to the recommended internal temperature renders that product safe to eat," says Dr. Binnicker.
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