Former Center for Disease Control Director Warns of Avian Flu Pandemic

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.16 - 2024 10:26 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
It has a significant mortality rate.

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Former CDC Director Robert Redfield has issued a stark warning, predicting an avian flu pandemic is inevitable.

Former CDC Director Warns of Avian Flu Pandemic

According to Ziare Redfield expressed growing concerns over avian flu, with cases detected in U.S. cattle and the first human death reported in Mexico. Redfield emphasized, "I truly believe it's very likely that we will have an avian flu pandemic."

Redfield highlighted the significant mortality rate when avian flu jumps to humans, estimating it between 25 and 50 percent, contrasting sharply with COVID-19's 0.6 percent mortality rate.

The CDC recently identified the third case of avian flu since March, all among agricultural workers and seemingly unrelated, with symptoms including feverless cough and pink eye, and no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Human-to-Human Transmission

Scientists identified that five amino acid changes are necessary in the key receptor for avian flu to potentially spread between humans, similar to COVID-19, Redfield stated.

He stressed, "Once the virus gains the ability to attach to the human receptor and then transmit from human to human, then we will have a pandemic. And as I said, I think it's just a matter of time."

Redfield expressed concern, given the virus's detection in cattle nationwide.

Over 40 cattle herds across the country have confirmed virus cases. The CDC monitors wastewater facilities to pinpoint virus locations, reassuring the general public's low current risk. Concerns persist due to cattle's proximity to pigs, where the virus could evolve and potentially spread to humans.