The bird flu virus was first transmitted from a cow to a human

19.05.2024/16/30 XNUMX:XNUMX    244

Scientists have warned more than once that the H5N1 virus is dangerously close to starting to infect people en masse. As if confirming this, scientists recorded the first case of human infection from a cow.

The transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) from a cow to a dairy farmer was the first reported case of transmission of this virus from a cow to a human. The landmark event has alarmed scientists and health authorities around the world amid recent warnings that the virus is dangerously close to increasing its infectivity to humans. The case of infection with the virus was detected at an early stage and, fortunately, it only caused inflammation of the eyes and not a respiratory infection, which reduced the likelihood of its further transmission to humans, writes ScienceAlert.

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"The fact that the virus went from birds to mammals, in this case to dairy cows, and then to humans is very significant," says the ecotoxicologist. Steve Presley, director of the Biological Threats Laboratory at Texas Tech University. Presley and his colleagues conducted research, which confirmed transmission of the virus, and shared the results with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In late March 2024, an injured farm worker reported red eyes and discomfort. Although he had no contact with the birds, he did work with cows that showed signs of the disease. This case marked the first time that highly pathogenic avian influenza had been detected in dairy cattle in the United States, which surprised experts and required closer monitoring of animals and farm workers before confirmation of infection.

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This case is only the second human infection with this bird flu in the United States, while human-to-human transmission of the virus has not yet been observed. However, each human infection gives the virus more opportunities to adapt and become more contagious by mutating in our body. The study identified a specific mutation (PB2 E627K) in the virus obtained from the worker, which is associated with adaptation of the virus to mammalian hosts.

The bird flu outbreak that started in 2020 and continues to this day poses a significant risk due to the high mortality rate during infection. Understanding how the virus is transmitted between animals and humans is critical to controlling its spread before it potentially sparks a new pandemic. So far, the virus has been found in a variety of mammals, including foxes, seals, sea lions, bears and domestic cats. With the stakes high and memories of the recent pandemic still fresh, scientists are working hard to contain the spread of the virus.

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