A person contracted bird flu. How worried should you be about the virus?

Key Takeaways

  • Texas’ Department of State Health Services reported a case of bird flu in a human who was infected by cows with the virus.

By Erin Kayata

Bird flu is always a concern for health officials, not only for its effects on food supply chains, but for its potential for causing infections in humans. However, rarely, if ever, do humans contract this virus.

But the Texas Department of State Health Services reported on April 1 that a person contracted H5N1, a strain of bird flu.

The agency indicated the person’s only symptom is eye inflammation. The person was infected by cattle, a development that could be a cause for concern, according to Sam Scarpino, a public health expert and professor at Northeastern University.

“Bird flu has been around for basically as long as we’ve been thinking about human flu,” Scarpino says. “It’s a pretty persistent problem because … it’s always spilling over into mammals, including humans. It affects domestic bird population, poultry, et cetera. It’s something that we’re persistently worried about causing another pandemic, and we’re paying attention to it a lot.” 

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.