Bird Flu Discovered in Mammals


egg factory, plant agriculture, poultry chicken farm | Image by Mark Agnor, Shutterstock

The bird flu has now been detected infecting mammals.

The United States Department of Agriculture released a report on January 24 documenting different mammals across the nation in 2022-23.

This report detailed multiple contractions of the virus in animals such as raccoons, grizzly bears, skunks, opossums, and foxes.

Avian influenza or bird flu is a viral disease in poultry and other birds by infection with avian influenza A viruses.  While human contraction of the disease is rare, infection is possible through the mouth, eyes, or nose if a person has prolonged and unprotected contact with an infected bird.

Most of these contractions were observed in the northernmost section of the United States, including New York, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, and others.

So far, no cases of the virus in mammals in the southern United States have been discovered.

Because this virus has jumped to a different type of animal, some scientists believe that humans will now be more easily susceptible to infection as well.

“If this virus has mammalian adaption and can transmit between mammals, humans are immunologically naive … and humans are mammals,” said Jürgen Richt, professor, and director of the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at Kansas State University, according to USA Today.

The CDC on the matter of bird flu reported that “influenza A viruses that infect one animal species may sometimes cross over and cause illness in another species, including people.”

The agency reported that these viruses have passed sporadically from poultry to humans in the past and resulted in illness and even death.  Moreover, the agency made it clear that it is possible for the virus to adapt into a form that is highly infectious and can be spread from human to human.

The CDC has recorded that only four people in the United States have ever contracted the disease.

Despite these warnings, the agency maintains that public health risk is low.

“Right now, the H5N1 bird flu situation remains primarily an animal health issue,” said the organization on January 27.  “However, CDC is watching this situation closely and taking routine preparedness and prevention measures in case this virus changes to pose a greater human health risk,” it continued.

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1 month ago

We will need to become more conscious of the choices we make in agricultural and animal welfare practices as well as our own healthcare practices and how they affect the balance of nature in order to end these kinds of detrimental viruses. We are not good stewards of our planet.

Reply to  Allison
1 month ago

The avian flu dates back to 1878 in Italy. Maybe it was from crushing grapes with their feet? These infected birds migrate from Asia and Africa. Maybe it’s the filthy conditions. Seems an awful lot of diseases stem from those countries.

1 month ago

Wouldn’t Hitchcock have a field day with this one. “The Birds II”.

1 month ago

The latest evidence indicates that this most recent bird flu outbreak may have resulted from people bringing infected eggs from Mexico across the border into the US. Another reason to close the damn border!

Mary Bluntzer, M.D.
Mary Bluntzer, M.D.
1 month ago

CDC is prepared to use any and all diseases for fearmongering purposes.