Urgent: Expand H5N1 avian flu testing on farms
  1. United States
  2. Okla.
  3. Letter

Urgent: Expand H5N1 avian flu testing on farms

To: Rep. Bice, Sen. Mullin, Sen. Lankford

From: A verified voter in Oklahoma City, OK

June 4

The absence of comprehensive testing for H5N1 avian influenza on farms is deeply concerning and likely concealing the true extent of the virus' spread. Serious gaps in testing animals like cattle and monitoring farm workers are hampering efforts to understand transmission patterns and effectively respond to this outbreak. Without thorough surveillance, it will be exceedingly difficult to control the virus and prevent potential mutations that could increase risks to human health. While the risk to humans currently remains low, the lack of vigilant testing raises the possibility of undetected transmission to people in close contact with infected animals. Complacency could prove disastrous if the virus acquires mutations enabling greater human-to-human spread. We cannot afford to be caught off guard. Robust testing protocols must be implemented across the animal agriculture sector, including viable compensation programs to incentivize full transparency from farmers. Targeted studies tracking viral evolution and transmission vectors between species are also critically needed. Maintaining insufficient monitoring undermines public health and leaves us blindly navigating an outbreak with alarming potential ramifications. I urge swift action to vastly expand H5N1 testing capabilities on farms and among workers. Illuminating the true scope of this crisis is imperative for an effective, evidence-based response to safeguard animal and human populations alike. Proactive measures anchored in comprehensive data are essential to containing this outbreak before it escalates further.

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