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Colorado Man Tests Positive For Avian Flu

MONTROSE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- An adult male has tested positive for Avian flu on Colorado's Western Slope. The man is younger than 40 years old and is an inmate at a state correctional facility in Delta County.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the man tested positive as a result of direct exposure to infected poultry at a commercial farm in Montrose County. The man was working with poultry as part of a pre-release employment program "where participants have the opportunity to work for private employers and be paid a prevailing wage."

Two free-range chickens at sunrise.
(credit: Getty Images)

The affected flock has been euthanized and disposed of under guidance from the USDA and CDA.

The infected man is largely asymptomatic and has reported only feeling fatigued. He is isolating and receiving the influenza antiviral drug oseltamivir (tamiflu) per CDC guidance.

According to the CDPHE, scientists believe that the risk to people is low as H5 flu viruses spread among wild birds and poultry. They do not normally infect humans nor spread from person to person. There are currently no known cases of this H5 flu virus spreading among people. There are no other confirmed human cases in Colorado or the United States at this time.

"We want to reassure Coloradans that the risk to them is low," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a statement. "I am grateful for the seamless collaboration between CDC, Department of Corrections, Department of Agriculture, and CDPHE, as we continue to monitor this virus and protect all Coloradans."

According to the CDPHE, it is safe to eat properly handled and cooked poultry and poultry products in the United States. The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including H5N1 viruses.

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