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Former CDC director warns bird flu pandemic is coming

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Health officials and farm workers are grappling with the challenges posed by strains of bird flu. Across the U.S., 48 states have reported outbreaks among poultry and 12 have now seen the disease in dairy cattle.

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Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned that it is not a matter of “if,” but rather “when” there will be bird flu pandemic.

In an interview with NewsNation, Redfield highlighted that bird flu has a 25% to 50% mortality rate in humans, compared to COVID-19’s 0.6% mortality rate. Since 2003, 888 humans worldwide have been infected with bird flu. Half of those patients succumbed to the illness, according to the CDC.

Since January 2022, bird flu strain H5N1 has been detected in nearly 97 million birds in both commercial and backyard flocks in the United States. Recent findings indicate that the disease is spreading among dairy cattle and has even been detected in milk supply. Although three dairy farm workers who had direct contact with livestock contracted the H5N1 virus in the last three months, they have all recovered.

In Mexico, a specific strain of bird flu, H5N2, caused a human death. However, that strain is not the one currently spreading in the U.S. The World Health Organization reported that the affected individual also had serious underlying health conditions.

Scientists are closely monitoring bird flu’s evolution. According to Redfield, it has been detected in 27 mammals in the United States and is raising concerns about its potential spread to cattle and other livestock. Redfield emphasized the risk of bird flu being manipulated and leaked by scientists using gain-of-function research in a lab. Similar research was conducted in 2012, and he said scientists know how to make bird flu highly infectious for humans.

While the exact mechanism of bird flu’s spread among mammals remains uncertain, scientists warn that with a few genetic changes, it could leap to humans and become highly contagious.

The CDC maintains that the current public health risk related to bird flu is “low.”

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

We’re continuing to monitor the latest developments as strains of bird flu complicate the lives of health officials and farm workers. 

All but 2 states have seen the bird flu outbreak among poultry and 12 states have now seen the disease in dairy cattle.

The latest numbers followed by remarks from FORMER CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION DIRECTOR – ROBERT REDFIELD – who SAYS IT’S NOT A QUESTION OF ‘IF’ BUT RATHER ‘WHEN’ WE’LL EXPERIENCE A BIRD FLU PANDEMIC.

IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NEWS NATION FRIDAY –

REDFIELD SAID BIRD FLU HAS A 25-50% MORTALITY RATE IN HUMANS COMPARED TO COVID’S ZERO-POINT-6% (0.6%) MORTALITY RATE.

SINCE 2003 – NEARLY 900 HUMANS HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH BIRD FLU WORLDWIDE – AND HALF OF THOSE PATIENTS DIED FROM THE ILLNESS, ACCORDING TO THE CDC.

SINCE JANUARY 2022 – BIRD FLU H5N1 HAS BEEN DETECTED IN NEARLY 97-MILLION BIRDS – IN BOTH COMMERCIAL AND BACKYARD FLOCKS IN THE UNITED STATES.

 SCIENTISTS HAVE LEARNED IN RECENT MONTHS –

THE DISEASE IS SPREADING AMONG DAIRY CATTLE AND IT’S BEEN DETECTED IN OUR MILK SUPPLY.

THREE DAIRY FARM WORKERS – WHO ALL HAD DIRECT CONTACT WITH LIVESTOCK – CONTRACTED THE H5N1 VIRUS IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS, HOWEVER, THEY’VE ALL SINCE RECOVERED. 

AND A PARTICULAR STRAIN OF BIRD FLU – H5N2 – KILLED A MAN IN MEXICO. THAT STRAIN IS NOT THE ONE SPREADING IN THE U-S.

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORTED – THAT PERSON ALSO HAD SERIOUS UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS. 

RIGHT NOW — SCIENTISTS SAY BIRD FLU IS CHANGING – AND SPREADING AMONG MAMMALS.

REDFIELD SAYS BIRD FLU HAS BEEN DETECTED IN 27 MAMMALS IN THE UNITED STATES AND HE’S CONCERNED ABOUT BIRD FLU INFECTING CATTLE AND OTHER LIVESTOCK.

[DR. ROBERT REDFIELD]

“I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THAT BECAUSE CATTLE LIVE CLOSE TO PIGS AND A LOT OF TIMES IN FLU, THERE’S BEEN A RELATIONSHIP WITH FLU GOING FROM PIGS TO HUMANS AS ITS TRYING TO EVOLVE.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

REDFIELD SAYS HE’S LESS CONCERNED ABOUT H5N1 SPREADING FROM ANIMALS TO HUMANS – AND MORE CONCERNED ABOUT BIRD FLU BEING MANIPULATED AND LEAKED BY SCIENTISTS USING GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH IN A LAB.

HE SAYS SCIENTISTS ALREADY DID THIS RESEARCH IN 2012 – AND KNOW HOW TO MAKE BIRD FLU HIGHLY INFECTIOUS FOR HUMANS. 

SCIENTISTS ARE UNSURE HOW H5N1 IS SPREADING AMONG MAMMALS – AND THEY WARN – WITH A FEW GENETIC CHANGES, IT CAN MAKE A LEAP TO HUMANS – AND BECOME HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.

 THE CDC CONTINUES TO SAY – THE CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH RISK REGARDING BIRD FLU IS “LOW”.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M LAUREN TURNER –

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