Saturday, May 25, 2024

WHO warns H5N1 bird flu virus could spread to cows via migratory birds


NEW DELHI: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has been detected in dairy cattle herds across nine US states and one human case in Texas since late March, could potentially spread to cows in other countries via migratory birds.
Wenqing Zhang, the head of WHO’s Global Influenza Programme, emphasized this risk during a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.
“With the virus carried around the world by migratory birds, certainly there is a risk for cows in other countries to be getting infected,” said Wenqing Zhang.
Despite the low overall public health risk posed by the virus, as assessed by the UN agency, Zhang urged vigilance in monitoring the situation.
She also acknowledged the United States’ transparency in handling the outbreak, noting that the WHO has been receiving regular updates and commending the early sharing of the virus genetic sequence by US officials.
“I do think the collaboration with US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the information we’ve received so far enables us to monitor the situation and to update the preparedness measures,” Zhang said.
Meanwhile, US authorities are working to ensure the safety of milk and meat products in light of the confirmed H5N1 cases in the country.

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