Bird flu detected in U.S. dairy cows for the first time

Livestock at several dairy farms in the United States have tested positive for bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, in an outbreak that is expected to spread to at least five states.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported on Friday that the virus had affected cows in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan, with probable positive test findings for other herds in New Mexico and Idaho.

The disease has never been discovered in dairy cows before, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The instances come just a few days after a herd of young goats on a Minnesota farm caught avian flu.

Bird flu attacks birds’ respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, often killing them. It can spread from wild birds to commercial poultry, backyard flocks, terrestrial and marine mammals, and people.

According to government officials, the current outbreak poses a minor risk to the public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of previous human illnesses resulted from “unprotected exposures to sick or dead infected poultry.” Officials say the strain of the virus reported in Michigan is comparable to those found in Texas and Kansas, and initial testing revealed no alterations that would make it more transmissible to people.

According to federal and state experts, the recent surge in avian flu illnesses should have no impact on dairy product consumers.

“Understanding the details surrounding the transfer of avian virus to livestock is the top priority of animal health professionals and agriculture agencies,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller stated. “While troubling, this outbreak is not currently expected to threaten our nation’s commercial dairy supply.”

So far, there has been virtually no impact on customers

The USDA maintains the country’s commercial dairy supply is safe, and a milk recall is unnecessary.

This is because dairies must divert or destroy any milk from affected livestock, and only milk from healthy cows can be processed for human use.

Pasteurization, which is essential for milk to enter interstate commerce, also eliminates germs and viruses such as influenza.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is minimal information on the transmission of avian flu in raw, unpasteurized milk. The FDA has long advised people to avoid raw milk, which it claims can contain hazardous microorganisms and sicken consumers.

According to federal experts, the loss of milk from ill dairy cows is insufficient to have a substantial influence on commercial supply, which is generally higher in the spring due to increased seasonal production. According to them, the epidemic is unlikely to cause an increase in dairy prices.

How do regulators and farmers seek to contain the spread?

The USDA believes the dairy cows were affected by a strain known as H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade, which was most likely spread by wild birds. Pigeons, blackbirds, and grackles were found on the affected Texas farms.

However, federal officials have not ruled out the possibility of cow-to-cow transmission. A Michigan farm recently received a consignment of cattle from an infected Texas farm before any of the cows showed indications of sickness, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Friday.

Cows infected with avian flu on impacted dairy farms have recovered “after isolation with little to no associated mortality reported,” according to the USDA.

Federal and state agencies continue to evaluate sick cattle and unpasteurized milk samples.

The USDA also advises farmers and veterinarians to exercise “good biosecurity,” which includes limiting animal movements, testing livestock before they are transported, and isolating sick cattle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *