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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) reported that a human case of avian influenza H5 infection (H5N1) has been identified in Colorado. This case involves an employee at a dairy farm in the northeast part of the state who had direct exposure to dairy cattle infected with avian flu. The person was treated and has recovered. This is the fourth human case of avian flu identified nationwide in connection with the multi-state outbreak of the virus in dairy cattle. No avian flu cases have been detected in humans or cows in Mesa County.

“The risk of people contracting this virus is very low. These avian viruses are spreading animal to animal and have not adapted to spread among people. Still, our team remains proactive and is working closely with the CDPHE and the Colorado Department of Agriculture to monitor the situation and keep people safe,” said MCPH Deputy Director Erin Minnerath.



Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is usually referred to as bird flu. It is known to infect domestic and wild poultry and waterfowl, and will occasionally affect mammals, including dairy cattle. Pasteurized milk and milk products are safe. It is also safe to eat properly handled and cooked beef and poultry products. The proper handling and cooking kills bacteria and viruses, including avian flu viruses.



While the risk remains low, people who are exposed to infected animals have an increased risk of infection. Do not touch sick or dead animals. If you need to handle them, we recommend wearing personal protective equipment, including gloves and a mask. Wash your hands with soap and water afterwards. 


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Sarah Gray
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Microscopic image of H5N1 virus cells.