Tag Archives: Avian Flu

CDC Reports First Human Case Of Avian Influenza

By Becker’s Hospital Review

A Colorado man has tested positive for an H5 bird flu virus, the first such case in the U.S., health officials said April 28. 

The Colorado health department said the man, who is younger than 40, had been working on a commercial farm with poultry that, according to the CDC, was presumably infected with H5N1.

He reported fatigue as his only symptom and is now in isolation and being treated with the flu antiviral drug oseltamivir. 

It’s unclear whether the exposure resulted in an infection, according to statements from the health agencies. Officials from the Colorado health department said a positive test result came from a single nasal specimen. The CDC confirmed that result April 27, though it said repeat testing has been negative. 

“Because the person was in close contact with infected poultry, the virus may have been present in the person’s nose without causing infection,” the Colorado health department said. The CDC said whether the positive test was the result of “surface contamination of the nasal membrane” cannot be determined now.

“The appropriate public health response at this time is to assume this is an infection and take actions to contain and treat,” the CDC said, adding risk to the general public remains low. 

The CDC has been monitoring H5N1 outbreaks among wild birds and poultry since late 2021.

The agency said it has been tracking the health of more than 2,500 people with exposure to infected birds, and this marks the only detected case. The first such human infection caused by the predominant group of H5N1 viruses now circulating was reported in the U.K. in December. 

Egg Prices Soar As Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu Spreads Ahead Of Easter

Add eggs to the growing list of food prices rising at grocery stores. The reason is a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) spreading across the US.

Bloomberg reports HPAI has been detected in commercial poultry operations, backyard farms, and wild flocks up and down the East Coast and across the Midwest since Jan. 26.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has monitored the spread rippling through the US. Standard procedures for farms where HPAI has been detected are cull infected flocks. Last week, APHIS said 2.8 million chickens and turkeys died in one month from the virus. At least one million birds were recently culled at a poultry farm in Iowa.

Karyn Rispoli, a poultry market analyst at commodity researcher Urner Barry, warns egg prices are beginning to rise due to lost production. She said peak demand for eggs is underway as Easter fast approaches, pushing prices even higher.

HPAI spreading to more farms, thus triggering more cullings, risks future supply disruptions. As wholesale prices increase, consumers are expected to notice rising egg prices, just as inflation soars to four-decade highs.

Urner Barry data shows wholesale eggs jumped 10 cents to $1.60 a dozen Wednesday, the most significant daily gain since the early days of the virus pandemic. The five-year average for wholesale eggs is around $1.44.

John Brunnquell, CEO of producer Egg Innovations, said prices would continue rising in the coming weeks, and consumers will notice.

“Bidding remains very strong among different egg companies, and so you’re going to see significantly higher” prices at grocery stores, Brunnquell said.

Since the HPAI spread is recent, there’s no telling if it will abate anytime soon. The last outbreak, in 2015, resulted in the culling of 50 million laying hens across 15 states, pushing retail Grade A Egg prices to nearly $3 a dozen.​​​​​​ Prices are currently at $2.

Retail prices are at the highest in five years for this time of year.

E-Course: Backyard Chickens for Eggs

The largest concern is the spread of HPAI as wild flocks migrate across the country. Even before the emergence of the virus, the 2015 culling has resulted in declines in egg-laying chickens.

“When you layer that on top of that what’s going on with avian influenza, and the precedent of 2015, the impact on the market could be material,” Stephens analyst Ben Bienvenu warned.