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Second human avian flu case linked to infected cattle
Avian influenza has been confirmed in more than 60 herds in the USA.
Michigan farm worker had mild eye symptoms.

Health officials in the USA have confirmed a second human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) linked to the ongoing outbreak of the virus in dairy cattle.

The patient, a farm worker in Michigan who was being monitored after exposure to infected cattle, only reported mild eye symptoms and has recovered. An eye swab from the patient tested positive for the virus, although a nasal sample tested negative.

The case is similar to one in Texas in late March in which a dairy worker also tested positive after exposure to infected cattle and experienced mild eye symptoms. The earlier case is believed to have been the first reported instance of the H5N1 virus being transmitted from a mammal to a human.

A previous human case in 2022, in which a farm worker from Colorado tested positive for the virus, was linked to exposure from infected poultry.

The outbreak of the virus among dairy cattle in the USA has so far spread to nine states and affected more than 60 herds. Mandatory testing has been introduced for cattle being moved between states.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus is spreading between humans.

Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said: “The current health risk to the general public remains low.

“This virus is being closely monitored, and we have not seen signs of sustained human-to-human transmission at this point. This is exactly how public health is meant to work, in early detection and monitoring of new and emerging illnesses.”

Although no cases of the virus have been detected in cattle in the UK, the Animal and Plant Health Agency recently updated its case definition and diagnostic testing criteria for highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in mammals to include cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."