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St. Mary’s Health Officer Briefs Commissioners On Bird Flu Concerns


St. Mary's Health Officer Briefs Commissioners On Bird Flu Concerns
St. Mary's Health Officer Briefs Commissioners On Bird Flu Concerns
Screenshot from 6/4/2024 St. Mary’s County Board of County Commissioners meeting

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – During their June 4, 2024, meeting, St. Mary’s County’s Health Officer Dr. Meena Brewster spoke with the St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners to inform them of the spread of bird flu across the state. A spread that Dr. Brewster has referred to as “an emerging public health issue”.

Sometimes called avian influenza, H5N1 is a virus commonly found in wild birds such as waterfowl. It also has been known to infect poultry and dairy cows living on commercial farms in America.

According to the CDC, bird flu outbreaks among poultry have occurred in 48 states, including Maryland, and over 97 million cases have been reported.

Dairy herds have not been spared either, as around 100 different herds have reported at least one confirmed H5N1 infection. Thankfully, none of these herds are located in Maryland.

The main concern at the health department is the safety of agricultural workers and their families, said Dr. Brewster, who also thanked the University of Maryland Extension office for their efforts in trying to limit the spread of the virus.

There have only been 4 reported cases of H5N1 in humans since 2022, and the disease is not known to be fatal in people. However, according to Dr. Brewster, “here’s the possibility that it could. And over time we know that when viruses grow as we saw with COVID things can change and they can become more significant.”

According to their website, “CDC is working closely with USDA to monitor the current H5N1 bird flu situation in wild birds and poultry, dairy cows, and sporadic infections in other mammals, and will provide updates as information is available.”

To watch the full meeting, click here. To learn more about the H5N1 virus, click here.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com

The post St. Mary’s Health Officer Briefs Commissioners On Bird Flu Concerns appeared first on The BayNet.



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