Bird flu: Colorado prepares safety protocols after detecting symptoms in cows

Denver.- After detecting that up to 10 percent of cows show symptoms of bird flu in Colorado, the state launched protection protocols for agricultural workers, mostly migrants, and thus avoid possible human infections with the virus.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture implemented the measures after two human cases occurred, one in the state of Michigan and the other in Texas, and in the midst of a national outbreak of the virus in livestock.

In Colorado, according to official data, between 5 percent and 10 percent of dairy cows have symptoms that could reveal the presence of the virus. Influenza Asubtype H5N1.

As prevention, those who are in direct contact with these cows must wear protective suits and follow a process of cleaning and disinfecting their body before carrying out other tasks.

Another 12 states have established protective measures after detecting several cattle infected with bird flu.

In Michigan, the state government declared a “extraordinary emergency” on farms and activated new safety protocols last month due to the “threat of bird flu to the health of animals and people, and to commerce and the economy,” according to Tim Boring, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of that state.

In Texas, last April authorities reported a human infection with the avian influenza virus. The diagnosis was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That was the second human case of H5N1 bird flu reported in the United States.

This human contagion apparently occurred due to the presence of the bird flu virus in sewage near a farm in Austin, he indicated this Friday. Anthony Maressodirector of the Texas Wastewater Environmental Biomonitoring Network.

In response, prevention measures were expanded, due to the suspicion that other human infections were not reported.

At the national level, at least 45 people have been tested for the H5N1 virus since last March.

According to Helen Chu, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, “the necessary information is not yet available” to determine whether bird flu is already affecting farm workers, 80 percent of them Latino immigrants.

This is due to the restrictions imposed by the CDC, which only allow certain workers to be tested.

For its part, the CDC emphasizes that the risk of human infection “remains low.”

”Preliminary analyzes of genetic sequences show that these viruses remain primarily avian and are not well adapted to people,” the federal agency notes.