The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released information concerning the avian influenza A (H5N2), (H5N8) and (H5N1) cases in birds in the United States from Dec. 15, 2014 to Jan. 16, 2015.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that they have received 14 reports of avian influenza cases among birds.
Avian influenza, a virus that originated in Asia, is a highly contagious illness. Health professionals warn that the virus’s presence among U.S. birds may make it more likely that Americans will also contract the infection.
There have not yet been any human cases confirmed, as scientists have not confirmed whether these strains are contagious for humans. Human infections of avian influenza are from the HPAI (H5N1), (H5N6), and (H7N9) strains of the virus. These strains, which infect humans after they have had direct contact with the infected birds, cause a serious and sometimes deadly illness.
The 14 avian influenza reports originated from Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Idaho. Two of the cases were from wild birds living in captivity, seven were from wild aquatic birds, and five of the cases were domestic flocks (which were immediately eliminated after confirming the virus).
Twenty-four people were exposed to the sick birds during that time. Only one individual experienced flu symptoms, but the person did not test for the avian influenza.
The CDC recommends taking a cautious stance toward these strains until more data is gathered.