A Colorado prison inmate has become the first person in the United States to test positive for bird flu, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An inmate that worked with poultry
"A person has tested positive for the avian influenza A(H5) virus (H5 bird flu) in the United States, according to Colorado and confirmed by the CDC. This incident occurred in a person who had direct exposure to poultry and was involved in culling (depopulation) of poultry with presumptive H5N1 bird flu," said the CDC.
Luckily, the CDC revealed that the patient, who was under the age of 40, reported fatigue for a few days as their only symptom and has since recovered. The patient is being isolated and treated with the influenza antiviral medication oseltamivir.
The CDC has further revealed that it has tracked the health of more than 2,500 people who have been exposed to H5N1-infected birds. Almost all have been identified to be infection-free. It is possible that the Colorado man only had the virus present in his nose and that his body was not infected.
"The appropriate public health strategy is to today assume this is an infection and take actions to keep the infection down and treat it," the CDC said.
The risk of continued infections is low
Despite the fact that infection rates are too high, putting the public at ease.
"This incident does not alter the general public''s human risk assessment, which the CDC considers to be weak," according to the organization.
Lisa Wiley, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections, said the infected man was part of a group of inmates who worked at a farm inMontrose County before a case of bird flu was discovered there on April 19. The inmates were then asked to assist kill and remove the birds.
A small farm in Montrose County has been reported to have been affected by an outbreak that included 58,000 broiler breeder chickens infected. Only earlier this week, scientists said that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 was becoming a worldwide concern, citing its potential to significantly infiltrate poultry production.