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(15,302 posts)
Sat Jun 8, 2024, 06:17 AM Jun 8

Texas bird flu strain kills ferrets used to mimic disease in humans, US CDC says

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/texas-bird-flu-strain-kills-ferrets-used-mimic-disease-humans-us-cdc-says-2024-06-07/

Texas bird flu strain kills ferrets used to mimic disease in humans, US CDC says

By Nancy Lapid
June 7, 2024 6:28 PM EDT Updated 12 hours ago

June 7 (Reuters) - The bird flu virus strain that infected a Texas dairy farm worker in March was lethal to ferrets in experiments designed to mimic the disease in humans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Friday.

Seasonal flu, by contrast, makes ferrets sick but does not kill them, the CDC said.
Ferrets are considered the best small mammal for studying influenza virus infection and transmission and are commonly used as a tool to inform public health risk assessments of emerging influenza viruses, according to the CDC.

The strain of the (A)H5N1 avian influenza virus found in Texas spread easily among healthy ferrets when they were placed in direct contact with infected ferrets, the researchers found.

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https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/spotlights/2023-2024/ferret-study-results.htm

CDC Reports A(H5N1) Ferret Study Results

June 7, 2024—CDC has completed its initial study of the effects of the A(H5N1) bird flu virus from the human case in Texas on ferrets, a model used to assess potential impact on people.

What you need to know


- The A(H5N1) virus from the human case in Texas caused severe illness and death in ferrets. A(H5N1) infection in ferrets has been fatal in the past. This is different from what is seen with seasonal flu, which makes ferrets sick, but is not lethal.

- The A(H5N1) virus from the human case in Texas spread efficiently between ferrets in direct contact but did not spread efficiently between ferrets via respiratory droplets. This is different from what is seen with seasonal flu, which infects 100% of ferrets via respiratory droplets.

- These findings are not surprising and do not change CDC’s risk assessment for most people, which is low. The results do reinforce the need for people who have exposure to infected animals to take precautions and for public health and agriculture communities to continue to work together to prevent the spread of the virus to additional dairy herds and people.


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