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CDC preparing for ‘possibility of increased risk to human health’ from bird flu

Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an alert on Friday that it is preparing for the “possibility of increased risk to human health” from bird flu following an outbreak among dairy cows and two confirmed human cases.


However, the federal health agency also said the risk of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, to people in the U.S. is currently low.

Federal and state public health officials said in late March they were investigating an illness among primarily older dairy cows in Kansas, New Mexico and Texas and causing symptoms including decreased lactation and low appetite.

The first case was confirmed in a U.S. farm worker in Texas and the second case in a Michigan farm worker who had regular exposure to livestock-infected bird flu.

“Though currently circulating A (H5N1) viruses do not have the ability to easily spread to and between people, it is possible that influenza A(H5N1) viruses could change in ways that allow them to easily infect people and to efficiently spread between people, potentially causing a pandemic,” the CDC wrote in its alert.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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