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CDC Wants Increased Flu Testing This Summer

The department hopes to detect rare cases of bird flu in humans.

May 23, 2024

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that testing for influenza remains strong this summer with heightened testing of the influenza A virus. The CDC hopes the increased samples submitted will help detect rare cases of human H5N1 virus (bird flu) infections considering the ongoing outbreak of bird flu among U.S. poultry and dairy cattle. This news aligns with the second human case of bird flu in the U.S. reported in a dairy worker in Michigan, who worked near infected cows, on Wednesday, NBC News reports.

Nirav Shah, CDC principal deputy director, during a call this week, emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and outlined this nationwide flu monitoring plan for the summer season, which traditionally is a time when influenza testing declines.

Specifically, Shah asked state and local public health officials to work with clinical laboratories to increase submissions of positive influenza virus samples to laboratories for subtyping. Subtyping is a process that determines whether the influenza A sample is a common, seasonal influenza virus, or a novel virus such as bird flu.

Bird flu has been found in dozens of dairy herds in nine states, Reuters reported. Earlier this month, the CDC recommended farm workers wear personal protective equipment to combat bird flu spread, as CMM previously reported. Earlier this spring, the first person in the U.S. tested positive for bird flu after he was exposed to infected dairy cattle in Texas. Still, bird flu’s risk to humans remains low, health officials said.

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