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According to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, the recent H5N1 bird flu infection of a dairy worker in Texas is not a reason for public concern. This case is the second confirmed human infection in the US and emerges amid reports of the virus affecting cattle in several states.

In response to detecting bird flu, Miller ordered the temporary closure of the Cal-Maine Foods egg production facility in Farwell, Texas. The precautionary measure requires the slaughter of nearly 2 million chickens and the destruction of all eggs, affecting close to 4% of the company’s total flock.

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The temporary shutdown of Cal-Maine Foods, one of the largest poultry farms in Texas, represents a significant setback. Miller described the impact on the company as “devastating,” with the financial toll quickly escalating given the farm’s extensive egg production capabilities. Despite the immediate economic implications, Miller expressed optimism about the farm’s potential to resume operations swiftly. He said, “Depending on how they dispose of the birds, how they get that facility cleaned up and disinfected, they could get that facility up and running within 30 days.”

Reiterating the low risk to the public, Miller emphasized the safety of poultry products and the unlikelihood of a significant supply disruption. “Consumer message is ‘Hey, we don’t think this is a big deal, 1 out of 300 million plus [people] has contracted it, the symptoms are very mild — products are safe, it’s not going to create a wide shortage, supplies are uninterrupted,'” Miller assured. This stance is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which maintains that the H5N1 bird flu poses a low risk to the general U.S. population.

Miller added, “This dairy hand, we don’t know he got it from the cows. But we do know his symptoms were very mild. Most of those guys [at the dairy facility] are physically fit; it’s demanding work.


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