May 3, 2024 - Economy

Monitoring the flu

illustration of a cow made with viruses against a green backdrop

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Health experts and the agricultural sector are watching the bird flu outbreak in dairy cattle closely.

Why it matters: The virus has infected a range of animals and it's raising questions about the risk posed to humans.

State of play: There's been one mild human infection detected so far, in a person exposed to dairy cattle, but some researchers suspect not all cases in workers are being spotted.

  • U.S. regulators said this week that 30 retail store ground beef samples tested negative for the virus and that preliminary test results of other dairy products show that pasteurization inactivates the bird flu virus, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: An administration official told Axios it is "taking this outbreak seriously," adding the CDC has said the risk to human health for the general public is low.

  • Yes, but: The H5N1 virus "has consistently been considered a virus with the potential to cause a pandemic," according to Reuters.

What we're watching: Cattle futures fluctuated in price this week as the U.S. Department of Agriculture banned infected cattle from crossing state borders, per FT.

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