Bird Flu, H5N1 Presentation Major Points & Resources by Anna Krueger, Epidemiologist with the Division of Disease Surveillance

Posted on May 30, 2024

Bird Flu, H5N1 Presentation by Anna Krueger, Epidemiologist with the Division of Disease Surveillance

Major Points:

  • There are two kinds of influenza—Influenza A and Influenza B. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against versions of Influenza A and B, but not against the H5N1 virus.
  • While A and B often peak at different times of the season, it is possible to have both at once.
  • Bird flu is known as an HPAI—Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, with high mortality rates among wild birds and water fowl.
  • This verison of H5N1 first appeared in 2020, and in North America in 2021.
  • Although thousands of birds, 90 million poultry, about 200 mammals have had H5N1, only 2 people have contracted it. The first was a dairy worker in Texas in April.
  • This H5N1 flu can be treated with anti-virals. The only way to find out if a flu is H5N1 is to send test to Maine state HETL lab.
  • The virus has been detected in milk, but pasteurization will kill the virus. Even so, the FDA has ordered destruction of milk products with virus present.
  • It is unknown if virus can be transmitted in raw milk.
  • The virus has been detected in wild birds in Maine. The CDC is prepared to respond should a case jump from animal to human. A vaccine can be developed quickly. There is careful monitoring of those working with livestock in the state.
  • The CDC website will be updated with all current information in the weeks ahead. We will let you know when updates are posted.

The following resources were provided: