Bird flu spreads to Southern California, infecting chickens, wild birds and other animals | More
Voges lab has not confirmed the presence of bird flu in wild birds
(CNN) — The first known case of human bird flu in the United States was reported in Washington state in March.
But despite the discovery, experts said they remain skeptical it poses a serious threat to humans.
“I’m afraid that we’ll have to really worry about this in the coming months and years as it becomes more and more common,” said Dr. Thomas Briese, a veterinarian at the National Hansen’s Disease Program in Madison, Wisconsin, told CNN. “I think it’s very possible that we’re going to see it in the next 20 years.”
Bird flu has been found in the United States in a single case since 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the current flu season in the United States has been unusually mild, with the number of people sick with influenza limited in recent months.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says bird flu has infected chickens, ducks and turkeys in the United States in a wide range of domestic and wild birds since bird flu was first detected in the United States two years ago.
In that time, there have been no reports of the flu in wild birds.
The first documented case of human bird flu was documented in Washington state in March, when a Washington State Department of Health lab worker reported a case to the state health department.
The CDC confirmed the illness March 5.
The lab worker, a veterinarian named Rachel Pugh, had visited a restaurant in Seattle two weeks earlier where she had eaten several pounds of a wild bird known as a wood stork.
Pugh said the restaurant was the scene of an earlier bird flu outbreak in December. She became sick with the flu and was hospitalized after going into a coma and losing 30% of her blood supply.
Dr. Thomas Briese, a veterinarian in Madison, Wisconsin, told CNN he doesn’t think flu is spreading among the birds in the nation’s capital.
“We think it’s a very low probability we’re going to see this spread to people. We’re very confident that we are now seeing it in the domestic bird — in the wild bird population and not in the domestic poultry population,” said