U.S. dairy farm worker infected as bird flu spreads to cows in five states

Texas officials today issued a “health alert” about the first confirmed case of a human infection with a bird influenza virus that has found its ways into dairy cows. The worker developed conjunctivitis, a mild eye infection that frequently occurs when avian influenza viruses jump into humans.

The case is the latest surprise in the global march of the flu strain, a subtype of H5N1 known as clade that has devastated wild birds and poultry around the world for more than 2 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it has confirmed the virus has infected cattle at farms in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Michigan, while Idaho has a “presumptive” outbreak at one dairy farm. Wild birds, which have been found dead on some farms, most likely contaminated cow feed or water.