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In the News: Bird Flu detected in Cooper’s Hawk

The new strain H5N2 of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), has killed more than 4 million turkeys and chickens in Minnesota, and affected 70 different farms throughout the state. The strain has been circulating in the Mississippi flyway since early March.

For the first time, researchers detected H5N2 in a wild bird. The Cooper’s hawk in Yellow Medicine County crashed into a window above the deck of a homeowner, Patrick Redig, D.V.M., Ph.D., College of Veterinary Medicine professor and co-founder of the Raptor Center, told the Star Tribune. Later, tests confirmed that the Cooper’s hawk was also positive for H5N2.

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How relationships affect health and wellbeing

Photo: CC,, Harold Navarro

Valentine’s Day puts love on the brain. Throughout the world, people dedicate the day to celebrating relationships. But we ought to be paying more attention to them, researchers say. Relationships are important to our health and wellbeing every day of the year – not just February 14th.

“Healthy relationships enable us to be who we are,” says Mary Jo Kreitzer, Ph.D., RN, Director of the Center for Spirituality & Healing. “They nurture us and they help us grow. They help us become better people.”

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Research Snapshot: A better understanding of t-cell leukemia virus

Photo: CC,

The particles of the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a human retrovirus closely related to HIV, are known to be non-infectious. They don’t cause much damage alone. But when those particles invade other cells, the virus becomes highly infectious, and can cause leukemia. About 5 percent of people with HTLV-1 will develop adult t-cell leukemia.

University of Minnesota researchers recently captured 3-D images of HTLV-1 through advanced electron imaging, a technology that enabled them to study the virus particles in more detail than ever before. Their finding, recently published in The Journal of Virology, could provide insight into why some particles are more infectious than others.

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CDC declares flu an epidemic

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The U.S. is experiencing epidemic-level flu activity, the CDC announced yesterday.

The proportion of deaths related to pneumonia and influenza reached 6.8 percent as of December 20, 2014, which is considered the epidemic threshold. This demonstrates how easily the flu spreads, however an epidemic classification is typical with most flu seasons, the Washington Post reported.

“The CDC announcement confirms that we are entering a period of increased influenza transmission,” said Nick Kelley, PhD, research associate for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We expect to see higher levels of influenza during this time of year, with peak transmission typically occurring in January.”

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Top Five UMN Health Stories in 2014

2014 will be remembered for the largest, most complex outbreak of Ebola and our first experience fighting the disease within the United States. University of Minnesota infectious disease experts were frequently sought out as international teams mobilized to contain the deadly virus. But Ebola wasn’t the only significant health story in 2014.

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