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CDC: Bird flu could possibly affect humans

This week the CDC released a report expressing concerns about the H2N5 strain of avian flu possibly affecting humans.

For months the CDC has said it is not contagious to humans.

Dr. Dan Shaw at Mizzou’s Veterinary School said if someone were to contact H2N5 it would have to be inhaled.

He said this is dangerous because not only are poultry farms experiencing a mass infection of the virus, but people who handle waterfowl could possibly be at risk, as well.

“As far as human safety, waterfowl can get infected with the virus and they don’t tend to get that sick with it. So, they could be a source of infection and when the fall migration comes back down the Central and Mississippi it is causing some concern,” said Shaw.

Shaw said hunters in Missouri should be concerned if they hunt geese or ducks.

He said people who handle the birds are at the highest risk for getting the virus, if it should mutate, which the CDC now says is a possibility.

“That would definitely be a way to get exposed to it and all the poultry companies advise their workers to give up waterfowl hunting or find a new job because they are so worried about the source,” said Shaw.

Even though the CDC said the risk is low for humans, it is the first time the virus has made its appearance in Northern American birds. Shaw said the bird flu could also start to affect Americans’ wallets.

“It’s actually a big deal and I think it’s going to start having some effects on prices of poultry products in the near future.”

Shaw said not only can people expect to see the price of poultry rise, but recent reports also said egg prices have been steadily increasing since the occurrence of the avian flu in the United States.

So far, nearly 50 million birds in the U.S. have been killed as a precaution to the latest outbreak.

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