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Inmate in work release program contracts bird flu from infected poultry

US Bird Flu
Posted at 9:27 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 23:33:23-04

An inmate at a state correctional facility in Delta County contracted bird flu after working with infected poultry, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

The man, who is younger than 40, is largely asymptomatic, according to CDPHE. He reported fatigue for a few days and has since recovered, the CDC said. He is isolating and receiving treatment per CDC guidance.

The man was working with poultry as part of a pre-release employment program, state health officials said in a press release Thursday. He was involved in the culling (depopulating) of poultry with presumptive bird flu at a commercial farm in Montrose County, according to the CDC. CDPHE said the affected flock has been euthanized and disposed of under the guidance of the USDA and CDA.

State officials have been monitoring and testing people exposed to poultry and wild birds infected with bird flu. The man tested positive earlier this week, and the results were confirmed by the CDC Wednesday, according to CDPHE.

Human's risk of contracting bird flu is low, CDPHE said. It normally does not infect humans nor spread from person to person. There are currently no known cases of the bird flu spreading among people, CDPHE said Thursday.

“We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to them is low,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “I am grateful for the seamless collaboration between CDC, Department of Corrections, Department of Agriculture, and CDPHE, as we continue to monitor this virus and protect all Coloradans.”

CDPHE said Thursday there are no other confirmed human cases in Colorado or the United States at this time.

State health officials are urging people to avoid contact with poultry that appear ill or dead, and void contact with surfaces that may be contaminated with wild or domestic bird feces. If you must handle sick or dead poultry, wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water afterwords. Also, wear a face mask and goggles if possible.