The CDC recommends PPE distribution to workers on dairy farms, poultry farms, and in slaughterhouses to safeguard against avian influenza.

RT’s Three Key Takeaways: 

  1. Nirav D. Shah, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), convened a meeting with state health officials and stakeholders to address farmworker protection amid the threat of avian influenza.
  2. Shah urged jurisdictions to prioritize the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to dairy farms, poultry facilities, and slaughterhouses, particularly those with confirmed cases of avian flu among livestock.
  3. Despite the current low immediate risk to the public according to CDC assessments, Shah emphasized the importance of proactive measures to protect workers who may be at higher risk of infection due to their work exposures.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) principal deputy director Nirav D. Shah met with state health officials, public health emergency preparedness directors, state epidemiologists, and state public health veterinarians, and leadership from public health partner organizations to discuss farmworker protection and personal protective equipment (PPE) for avian influenza.

CDC asked that jurisdictions make PPE available to workers on dairy farms, poultry farms, and in slaughterhouses. Specifically, CDC asked state health departments to work with their state agriculture department counterparts and partners in communities, such as farmworker organizations, that can help coordinate and facilitate PPE distributions. 

Shah recommended that states prioritize distribution of PPE to farms with herds in which a cow was confirmed to be infected with avian flu, noting that some states have already distributed PPE to dairy farms. Jurisdictions were asked to use existing PPE stockpiles for this effort. Shah also briefed state officials on how to request additional PPE from the United States Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response’s strategic national stockpile, if needed.

[Related: Texas Dairy Worker with Bird Flu Had Pinkeye, No Respiratory Symptoms]

Although CDC’s assessment of the immediate risk to the US public from avian influenza remains low, Shah highlighted the importance of states acting now to protect people with work exposures, who may be at higher risk of infection. CDC has actively engaged with state and local health departments, farmworker organizations and public health veterinarians since first learning about the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in dairy cattle herds. 

CDC is also sharing information with staff at Federally Qualified Health Centers, who may care for farmworkers to help ensure that these staff are aware of the importance of PPE and the options to obtain it.

Shah reiterated the agency’s commitment to support state health officials, who are conducting the on-the-ground public health response to this outbreak.

Photo 182502633 © Martinmark |