Some recent human infections have been tied to birds, rodents and, in one case, a rare iguana bite. Here are three recent animal-to-human infection stories in order of Becker’s coverage:
1. The CDC found a Chilean man infected with two bird flu genetic mutations. The evolutions, both in the PB2 gene, help the H5N1 virus replicate better in mammalian cells. The mutations likely emerged in him over the course of his illness. The World Health Organization and Chinese officials confirmed the first human death from bird flu in mid-April.
2. New Mexico reported five hantavirus pulmonary syndrome cases, with four individuals hospitalized and one dead from the virus carried by rodents. The hantavirus cases did not spread from person to person; it commonly stems from exposure to rodent feces, urine and saliva that contains the virus.
3. Stanford (Calif.) University researchers said they identified the first animal-to-human transmission of Mycobacterium marinum — a nontuberculous mycobacterium that commonly causes a tuberculosis-like illness in fish — after an iguana bit a girl’s hand in May 2022.