Why it matters: The bird flu is a major virus that’s running through the bird population in the U.S. Any indication of bird-to-human transmission could lead to sickness and death.
Driving the news: Currently, there is no indication that avian influenza is spreading to humans, according to NBC News. However, experts are keeping an eye out to make sure it doesn’t happen.
- The CDC said it will monitor people who have been exposed to the virus, which has the title H5N1, according to NBC News.
What they’re saying: “New strains of influenza that are introduced to the human population and can cause global pandemics often originate from these animal sources, in particular birds,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told NBC News. “There is a risk that some of these bird flu strains may pick up the genetic capacity to infect humans.”
- CDC spokesperson Kate Grusich said in a statement to NBC News that the risk is low for the general public.
The bigger picture: Officials have confirmed multiple bird flu outbreaks across the country in recent months, starting in January. There has never been an indication that humans are at risk to catch the bird flu.
- Waterfowl in Maryland and Virginia tested positive for the bird flu in February, per The Washington Post.
- An outbreak was found in Kentucky and Virginia, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- Officials confirmed bird flu cases in Indiana, per Reuters.
- The United States Department of Agriculture confirmed new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a Kansas flock and an Illinois flock earlier this month.