What is the risk of bird flu spreading widely to humans from cows in the US?

What is the risk of bird flu spreading widely to humans from cows in the US?

Bird Flu: Cows Pose New Threat as Virus Spreads Widely in US Cattle

A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been ravaging bird populations worldwide, and now it’s spreading among mammals—including cows—in the United States. The virus, known as H5N1, has raised concerns among health experts about its potential to adapt to humans.

How High is the Risk to Humans?

The H5N1 virus has a high mortality rate among infected individuals, particularly those in close contact with infected animals. While the current risk of human infection is considered low, experts are closely monitoring the virus for any changes that could make it more transmissible to humans.

Challenges in Controlling the Spread

Culling infected cattle is not a viable option due to their high value and the lack of alternative hosts. Vaccination is also not permitted in India, which accounts for a significant portion of global poultry production. Additionally, the virus has been detected in pasteurized milk samples, highlighting the potential for human exposure through food consumption.

Government Response

Governments worldwide are implementing measures to control the spread of the virus, including:

  • Culling infected birds and animals
  • Restricting animal movement
  • Strengthening biosecurity measures at farms
  • Increasing surveillance and testing

The US government has allocated nearly $200 million to combat the spread of bird flu in dairy cows and protect public health.

Preparedness Measures

Scientists are working to develop vaccines and antiviral treatments for H5N1 in humans. Public health agencies are emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene, such as handwashing and avoiding contact with infected animals. Governments are urging individuals to report any suspected cases of bird flu infection in humans or animals.


The spread of H5N1 bird flu among mammals is a cause for concern, but the current risk of human transmission is considered low. Governments worldwide are taking measures to control the virus and protect public health. While preparedness measures are being implemented, individuals should remain vigilant and follow public health guidelines to minimize the risk of infection.

also read:Potential Risk of Reverse Spillover Events from Cattle to Other Animals Including Poultry Due to Avian Flu Outbreaks

By Deepika

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