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Bird flu spreading; one case in humans reported

The bird flu virus is spreading among birds and, most recently, cattle in the U.S. In early April, a Texas farmer tested positive for bird flu. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, 19% had heard about the case. Respondents ages 50+ were more likely to hear it than those under 50 (29% vs 14%). 

Bird flu, formally known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), is rare in humans. The Texas case is only the second instance of bird flu in humans confirmed in the U.S. At least 3 cases of bird flu in birds have been detected in St. Charles County, MO so far in 2024. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk to humans remains low, particularly for people with limited contact with animals. CDC also says that store-bought dairy products are still safe to consume.  

Health officials recommend practicing protective measures such as: 

  • Washing your hands with soap and water after touching birds or cows; 
  • Avoiding direct contact with wild birds, cows or other animals infected with or suspected to be infected with bird flu; 
  • Cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F to kill bacteria and viruses, including bird flu viruses; and, 
  • Not consuming uncooked or undercooked food products like raw milk or cheeses from animals with suspected or confirmed bird flu virus infection. 

Community organizations in St. Louis can help spread accurate information about bird flu prevention by the resource materials below. 

This week’s report is based on responses from a panel of 156 adult residents of St. Louis City and County, MO, surveyed from Saturday, April 13 to Monday, April 15, 2024. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL

Download the graphics below to share about this topic.

Suggested Caption:

The bird flu virus is spreading among birds and cattle in the U.S. The risk for the general public is low; those in close contact with infected birds or cows should take precautions. 

#iHeardSTL #BirdFlu 

Suggested Caption:

The risk of catching bird flu for the general public is low. Bird flu has only been recorded to have spread to a human twice in the U.S. But keep your backyard chickens safe! 

#iHeardSTL #BirdFlu 

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How can you avoid the bird flu? Wash your hands after touching birds and cows, cook your poultry and eggs all the way through, and avoid wild animals.

#iHeardSTL #BirdFlu 

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