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CDC Issues New Alert After Human Case of Bird Flu in the U.S.—These Are the Symptoms

After the U.S. confirmed its second-ever human case of bird flu, the agency has a new alert.

There are so many health scares to worry about these days: COVID, measles, norovirus, and now, even the bird flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert on April 5 to warn the public about a new "recently confirmed human infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus" in the U.S. According to the alert, a farm worker on a commercial dairy farm in Texas tested positive for the virus after falling ill in late March. Experts believe the patient was infected by dairy cattle in the area.

This is only the second human case of bird flu ever to be confirmed in the country. The first occurred in April 2022 when a person in Colorado tested positive for HPAI A(H5N1) after coming into contact with poultry that was believed to have been infected with the virus.

RELATED: Largest U.S. Egg Producer Hit With Bird Flu Outbreak—Is Your Dairy Safe?

"I want folks to know that for 20 years, the United States government has been preparing and trying to learn about avian flu," CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, told ABC News. "The fact that it spread to one human case is certainly making us want to take this very seriously."

But Cohen also said it's important for people to know that the "risk to them is very low." As of April 3, over 82,000,000 poultry and more than 9,200 wild birds have been affected by the bird flu nationwide, according to the CDC. But the agency says that avian influenza Type A viruses do not normally infect people, and no known human-to-human spread has occurred among the contemporary A(H5N1) viruses that are currently circulating in birds in the country.

Still, this second case makes it clear that human infections can occur—and they could end up fatal. "Illnesses in humans from bird flu virus infections have ranged in severity from no symptoms or mild illness (e.g., eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms) to severe disease (e.g., pneumonia) that resulted in death," the CDC states.

To help keep yourself safe, it's important to know what virus signs you should be looking out for. Read on to discover more about the symptoms humans can develop when infected with the bird flu.

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Eye redness

Woman with red eyes

The Texas farm worker who has just become the second confirmed human case of the bird flu in the U.S. only reported one symptom with their illness: eye redness, or conjunctivitis.

The CDC confirms this is one potential sign of bird flu in humans. Also, during an early 2000s outbreak of the H7N7 avian influenza strain in the Netherlands, 78 of the 89 patients who tested positive presented with conjunctivitis as their main symptom.


Shot of a mature man lying on his bed feeling exhausted

The first person to ever test positive for the bird flu in the U.S. also only had one symptom—although, it wasn't eye redness. Instead, the Colorado patient "reported fatigue for a few days" as their sole indicator, according to the CDC.


Shot of a young man checking his temperature while lying on the couch at home

Another potential sign of bird flu in humans is a fever, which is a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. But the CDC says a "fever may not always be present" and just feeling feverish in general could be a symptom, too.

RELATED: 8 Reasons You Feel Tired All the Time, According to Doctors.

Flu-like symptoms

A young woman wrapped up in a blue blanket coughs while sitting around houseplants
DejanMilic / iStock

As indicated by its name, avian influenza can actually look like the normal flu in humans. In fact, the CDC says you can experience flu-like upper respiratory symptoms such as a "cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing."

Gut problems


Your bird flu illness could likely start out with those common flu-like symptoms, but if it worsens, you could experience trouble elsewhere. According to WebMD, this means you may face gut problems such as nausea, belly pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.


Vertigo dizzynes

Another possible, yet less common, symptom of the bird flu in humans is seizures, according to the CDC. As WebMD explains, this is because the virus can cause brain or nervous system changes as it worsens.

"You might notice shifts in behavior, thinking, or even organ function," the experts explain. "Seizures are possible in serious cases."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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