DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed July 3 the fourth human infection tied to dairy cows suffering from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

The multistate outbreak previously affected dairy farm workers in Michigan and Texas. CDC shared that the latest case was similar to the first three cases, with the infected person working at a dairy farm where cows tested positive for the virus. CDC said the affected worker in Colorado reported only eye symptoms and subsequently received oseltamivir treatment and recovered.

While monitoring influenza cases in states that have been impacted by the HPAI spreading in dairy herds, CDC reported “there has been no sign of unusual influenza activity in people.”

Maintaining its previously reported stance amid the outbreak of animal infections, CDC said the overall public health risk is low for the general population in the United States.

Precautionary measures, CDC emphasized, are important for people who will be exposed to infected animals. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is one such recommended action. 

Per data shared by the US Department of Agriculture, there have been confirmed HPAI cases in dairy herds in 12 states: Ohio, Idaho, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.

CDPHE reiterated it remains safe to drink pasteurized milk.

“Avian flu viruses are currently spreading among animals, but they are not adapted to spread from person to person,” CDPHE state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “Right now, the most important thing to know is that people who have regular exposure to infected animals are at increased risk of infection and should take precautions when they have contact with sick animals.”