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The Spread of Bird Flu: What You Need to Know Now



Bird flu symptoms may be difficult to distinguish from other viruses, making it challenging for doctors to identify who needs testing. According to Dr. Landon, public health officials may not be testing as many people who have been exposed as they should, leading to concerns about silent spread between individuals. The CDC reported that over 350 people have been monitored due to exposure to infected animals, with at least 39 people with flu-like symptoms being tested. The airborne nature of bird flu means people could catch the virus through contaminated surfaces, inhaling virus-containing droplets, or absorbing particles from infected wildlife coughs or sneezes.

Raw milk poses a significant concern for the spread of bird flu, as more people are turning to it for its supposed health benefits. As the virus continues to affect dairy cows, there is a fear that viral particles may contaminate raw milk products, increasing the risk of illness. While pasteurization eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses like bird flu, raw milk is not subjected to this process. While nearly 99% of the commercial milk supply is pasteurized, local farmers in some states can still sell raw products. The recent FDA survey found that pasteurized dairy products contained bits of bird flu, but subsequent testing showed the virus was not live or infectious.

Birds transmit the virus through their saliva, mucous, and feces, meaning individuals could potentially contract bird flu from bird poop or bird baths. Given that infected wildlife can contaminate water sources like ponds and fountains, it is advisable to wear gloves when cleaning up after birds and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward. While the risk of getting bird flu from eating runny eggs is low, it’s still important to take precautions. Dr. Darin Detwiler advises against consuming raw or undercooked egg yolks to minimize the risk of salmonella, which can linger inside eggs and on outer shells.

In conclusion, while the symptoms of bird flu may overlap with those of other viruses, it is crucial to consider testing individuals who have been exposed to prevent silent spread. Raw milk consumption presents a potential risk for contracting bird flu due to the virus’s spread among dairy cows. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands after handling birds or cleaning contaminated areas, can help reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, individuals should be cautious when consuming eggs to avoid potential contamination with harmful pathogens like salmonella. By being vigilant and taking preventive measures, it is possible to minimize the spread of bird flu and protect public health.

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