May 26, 2024

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The United States Avian Influenza Outbreak Worse Than Expected?

The United States Avian Influenza Outbreak Worse Than Expected? CDC to Allocate $100 Million to Monitor Virus



The United States Avian Influenza Outbreak Worse Than Expected? CDC to Allocate $100 Million to Monitor Virus

Recently, a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, H5N1, has been spreading rampantly in chicken and cattle farms in the United States, with cases even surfacing of the virus transmitting to humans.

As the spread of the H5N1 epidemic gradually widens, U.S. health officials have decided to allocate over $100 million to enhance monitoring of avian influenza infections in cattle and humans.

 

The United States Avian Influenza Outbreak Worse Than Expected? CDC to Allocate $100 Million to Monitor Virus

 


U.S. Health Department to Allocate $100 Million to Monitor H5N1

Due to previous widespread criticism of the U.S. Health Department for insufficient early detection of newly emerging viruses, the department has recently stepped up monitoring efforts against the virus. Although to date, the U.S. has only had one case of human infection with the H5N1 virus, scientists warn that this virus could mutate into a more infectious and dangerous form.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that they will utilize the over $100 million funding to detect and track the H5N1 virus.

The CDC will use $34 million to detect and analyze virus sequences, while an additional $29 million will be used to track and monitor individuals who may have come into contact with the virus. Other funds will be used for researching candidate vaccines and wastewater treatment sites. Meanwhile, the FDA is also distributing protective equipment to farm workers, prioritizing those who have been in contact with infected cows.

The FDA will also allocate an additional $8 million to support milk supply monitoring and pasteurization. The agency stated in April that one-fifth of milk samples in the U.S. contain fragments of the avian influenza virus, but pasteurization can kill the virus. The FDA also mentioned that they have conducted active virus testing on 297 retail dairy product samples across the country, all of which tested negative.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing funds for dairy farms to combat the avian influenza epidemic, including offering financial incentives for distributing protective equipment. Each farm can receive up to $28,000 over the next 120 days, including reimbursement for veterinary and testing costs.

Potential Infected Individuals Unwilling to Cooperate with Monitoring

The CDC insists that H5N1 poses a low threat to humans. However, following reports of infected cows on 36 farms in nine states earlier, six more farms reported new cases of infected cattle this week, raising concerns about the spread of the virus.

Currently, the main issue with monitoring the virus is that potential infected individuals are unwilling to cooperate: many dairy farms are hesitant to invite the CDC for monitoring, as they would face potential financial impacts if infected cows are found; meanwhile, farmers working on the farms are also skeptical of government officials, fearing that showing signs of contact with the virus could cost them their jobs.

To date, no state in the U.S. has actively invited the CDC for monitoring, making it difficult for U.S. health departments to understand the specific transmission scope of the epidemic.

As of this year, the CDC has only tested about 30 people for the H5N1 virus and monitored symptoms in 220 people. CDC director Mandy Cohen stated in an interview this week that the CDC is ready to deploy epidemiological teams but is waiting for invitations from states.

The United States Avian Influenza Outbreak Worse Than Expected? CDC to Allocate $100 Million to Monitor Virus

(source:internet, reference only)


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