June 20, 2024

The US CDC is urging states to increase flu testing this summer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday advised states to help monitor H5N1 avian influenza by increasing testing of influenza A virus samples during the summer to identify people even in rare cases of virus transmission.

CDC Deputy Director Nirav Shah called for increased awareness ahead of the typical seasonal decline in flu activity and testing due to H5N1 infections in poultry and US dairy cattle.

Avian flu has been detected in dozens of dairy herds in nine states. A person in Texas who came into contact with dairy cows contracted H5N1 bird flu and developed conjunctivitis.

Public health laboratories process flu samples from local jurisdictions and subtype them to identify them as a common virus or a novel virus such as H5N1.

The CDC had already met with state health officials in May and asked them to facilitate the distribution of protective clothing to farm workers to avoid exposure to bird flu. (Reporting by Sneha SK in Bengaluru; Editing by Caroline Humer and Shailesh Kubher)

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