FDA Preparing For Possible Bird Flu Spread Among Humans: Commissioner

Dr. Robert Califf, Commissioner of the FDA, stated that they are preparing for the possible spread of bird flu among humans, with one verified case already reported in Texas this year.

FDA Preparing For Possible Bird Flu Spread Among Humans: Commissioner 1

The commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated on May 8 that the organization is ready for the possibility that people will contract the highly virulent avian influenza.

“This virus, like all viruses, is mutating. We need to continue to prepare for the possibility that it might jump to humans,” Dr. Robert Califf, the commissioner, told senators during a hearing in Washington.

The influenza, commonly referred to as H5N1 or the avian flu, has just lately begun to spread among cattle and other animals. This year, there has been one verified case in Texas.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported that the UK government was actively considering vaccinating the country’s poultry flock against bird flu in an effort to curb the worst-ever global outbreak of the virus and prevent it from evolving into a new pandemic in humans.

FDA Preparing For Possible Bird Flu Spread Among Humans: Commissioner 2
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf in Washington in a file image. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

You can read more about it here at Epoch Times.

According to U.S. experts, there is now little risk associated with influenza for humans based on genetic sequencing and other data, and there are no indications that the illness is spreading between individuals. However, efforts are underway to prepare testing, treatments, and vaccines in the event that circumstances alter.

“We’ve been busy getting prepared for if the virus does mutate in a way that jumps into humans on a larger level,” Dr. Califf told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Inflamed eyes were the patient’s main complaint in Texas. The patient has not experienced respiratory symptoms, and neither have many of the affected cows. H5N1 frequently affects birds’ respiratory systems.

“The real worry is that it will jump to the human lungs, where, when that has happened in other parts of the world for brief outbreaks, the mortality rates have been 25 percent,” Dr. Califf said. The worry is based in part on how viruses typically mutate, such as in the case of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 889 cases of H5N1 have been documented worldwide between April 1, 2024, and 2003. 52% of the patients have passed away.

H5N1 has evolved into a “global zoonotic animal pandemic,” according to Chief Scientist Jeremy Farrar of the World Health Organization. Scientists are worried that the virus may evolve to transfer to people.

The organization’s director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated on Wednesday that “more surveillance is needed, but the virus does not show signs of having adapted to spread among humans.”

According to Dr. Califf, a number of scientists interviewed by the U.S. government expressed concern about the influenza’s ability to spread to cattle and other species as well as how cattle interact with pigs, poultry, and people on farms. According to a May 3 study by Danish and American researchers, receptors from chickens, ducks, and humans were expressed in cows, suggesting that cattle could act as a “mixing vessel” for avian influenza.

Dr. Califf stated that although the risk remains minimal, “we’re much less likely to see a mutation that jumps to humans for which we’re ill-prepared if we institute the countermeasures now and reduce the spread of the virus now.”

Certain cattle must undergo testing in the United States before being transferred to another state. Among the guidelines is a recommendation for farm workers to put on protective gear while interacting with animals that may have or already have avian flu.

The safety of the nation’s milk supply is one of the FDA’s primary concerns. Samples of milk from grocery stores have been analyzed by the organization and its partners. The organization states that even though some samples came back positive, no live virus has been found, indicating the safety of the milk supply.

According to test results, beef is safe, as well, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The organization has verified H5N1 infections in nine states, including Colorado, Kansas, and Michigan, affecting thirty-six herds. A preprint article from the agency states that H5N1 started to spread in cattle in late 2023 based on data from infected animals.

According to officials in a briefing this week, some 70 farm workers in Colorado are being watched, although none have yet shown any symptoms.

GreatGameIndia is being actively targeted by powerful forces who do not wish us to survive. Your contribution, however small help us keep afloat. We accept voluntary payment for the content available for free on this website via UPI, PayPal and Bitcoin.

Support GreatGameIndia

Leave a Reply