We’re repeating 2020 mistakes with bird flu, ex-surgeon warns

Bird flu kills boy in Cambodia
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Jerome Adams, a former surgeon general, is worried that the US is repeating the same mistakes with bird flu as in 2020, NY Post reported.

Former surgeon says current situation with bird flu feels like 2020 all over again, warned that the virus could spread to humans

The highly contagious H5N1 bird flu virus is spreading among US cattle for the first time, Business Insider reported. Scientists are concerned because it’s jumping from mammal to mammal, raising the risk of it mutating to infect humans.

Adams, who worked under former President Donald Trump, warned that the virus will soon begin causing significant issues, one way or another. The former surgeon general expressed fear that we might be repeating the early mistakes made during the COVID-19 pandemic, where there was distrust surrounding an unclear vaccine process.

“If it keeps spreading in animals, then it is eventually going to cause problems for humans, either because we don’t have food because they’ve got to start exterminating flocks, or because it starts to make a jump in humans,” Adams, now the director of health equity at Purdue University, told Business Insider. “The more it replicates, the more chances it has to mutate.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed on Thursday that about one in five, or 20%, of commercial milk samples contain traces of bird flu, NY Post reported. This finding indicates that the virus is much more widespread in cattle than previously believed. Officially, only 33 herds in eight states have been confirmed to be infected.

The transmission from cow to cow marks a troubling development in a worldwide outbreak that started when the virus resurfaced in Europe back in 2020. Since then, it has caused the deaths of tens of millions of birds and over 40,000 sea lions and seals in South America, as reported by Business Insider.

Experts says it’s safe to continue buying and drinking milk

Experts reassure that there’s no need to worry, and it’s safe to continue buying and drinking milk because the pasteurization process effectively eliminates the virus.

Adams mentioned that he personally continues to purchase milk and hasn’t changed his eating habits, as properly cooking eggs also destroys the virus. However, he emphasized his concern that not everyone is receiving this message.

“The public needs good consistent communication from the White House, from the USDA, helping reassure them what the process is to keep them safe,” Adams said.

Adams also voiced concern that the outbreak among cattle could be more widespread than believed. Since farmers only test cattle once they show signs of sickness, asymptomatic cows could potentially spread the virus without detection.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Wednesday that dairy cows must now undergo testing for H5N1 (bird flu) before being transported across state lines, with any positive results required to be reported. This marks a new step as, until now, the USDA had not been actively monitoring positive test results in cattle, as reported by the New York Times.

On April 18, World Health Organization chief scientist Jeremy Farrar labeled this situation an “animal pandemic.”


About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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