New Bird Flu Strain Targets Eyes: Public Health Officials Warn of Potential Risk

Previously unseen transmission method raises concerns as cases rise in dairy farm workers.

Public health officials are urging caution as a new strain of bird flu, H5N1, appears to be targeting the eyes in recent human infections. Three cases, all involving dairy farm workers, have been confirmed in the United States since April.

Traditionally, bird flu infects humans through inhalation or contact with infected birds. However, these new cases present with conjunctivitis, or pink eye, as the primary symptom. While the patients are recovering, this development raises concerns about a potential new mode of transmission for the virus.

“The fact that the virus seems to be entering through the eyes is a cause for concern,” says Dr. Sarah Lee, a leading virologist. “We are still investigating how exactly this is happening, but it highlights the need for increased vigilance around farms with suspected bird flu outbreaks.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging farm workers to wear proper eye protection when handling potentially infected poultry. Additionally, they emphasize frequent handwashing and avoiding touching eyes with unwashed hands as crucial preventative measures for everyone.

“While there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission at this time,” says Dr. Lee, “these cases underscore the importance of taking bird flu seriously. If you work with poultry or suspect you’ve been exposed, contact your healthcare provider immediately.”

Researchers are analyzing the new Bird Flu strain to determine if it poses a greater risk to human health. Stay tuned for further updates as this situation develops.


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