Medical Monday: Bird flu case update, plus safety tips for solar eclipse viewing

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health alert for a human bird flu case reported in Texas.

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel sat down with “Fox and Friends” on Monday, mentioning that he spoke with CDC Director Mandy Cohen, who assured him that this bird flu case is treatable.

“This person has already gotten a lot better,” he said. “He got Tamiflu. He had mild symptoms – he had red eyes, he had some congestion [and] got better.”

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The positive bird flu diagnosis came after milk from dairy cows in Texas and Kansas tested positive for the disease. The cattle that contracted the disease have “also gotten better,” according to Siegel.

Dr. Marc Siegel speaks with “Fox and Friends” about bird flu spread and safety tips for viewing a solar eclipse. (iStock; Fox News)

The issue with bird flu, Siegel stressed, is the potential infection of poultry.

“Poultry die of it … because they have no immune system,” he said. “There have been over 400 million cases [of poultry acquiring it or being killed to prevent spread] over the last 20 years.”

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“Over 2,000 people [around] the world have gotten infected; about half of them recover fully,” Siegel added.

The good news, according to Siegel and Cohen, is that avian flu hasn’t mutated. If it had mutated, there would’ve been a chance for the disease to spread from human to human.

Poultry is most affected by bird flu because they “have no immune system,” Dr. Siegel said. (iStock)

“It is not going to spread [from] human to human in this form,” Siegel said.

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On the topic of humans and animals, Siegel also addressed how humans should follow their pets’ cues when it comes to safe viewing of the April 8 solar eclipse.

“We should be as smart as our pets,” he said. “Your dog is not going to be looking at the sun.”

Siegel stressed the dangers of looking at the sun, noting that “it can burn a hole in your retina.”

solar eclipse viewing with glasses

People observe the annular solar eclipse at the Luis Enrique Erro Planetarium of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City in 2017. (Luis Barron / Eyepix Group /Future Publishing)

The only way to view the eclipse safely is through special glasses that “polarize out the light,” Siegel advised.

“You cannot look directly at the sun,” he said. “I’ve seen people in the emergency room … where they lose partial vision because of this.”

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“It gets better over time, but doesn’t get completely better.”

dr marc siegel on fox and friends

Dr. Marc Siegel joined “Fox and Friends” on Monday, April 8, 2024. (Fox News)

Siegel explained that since the nerve endings in the eye don’t extend all the way to the retina, people cannot feel the damage being done.

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“Normally, you would feel pain like if you burned your finger,” he said. “You’re not going to feel pain if you burn your eye.”

Fox News Digital’s Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.

For more Health articles, visit foxnews.com/health

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