New Threat U.S. Dairy Cows Test Positive for Bird Flu Virus

New Threat: U.S. Dairy Cows Test Positive for Bird Flu Virus

Bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, has been detected in the livestock of several dairy farms in the United States. This outbreak is suspected to have expanded to at least five states.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture verified on Friday that the virus has affected cows in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan. Additionally, test results for additional herds in New Mexico and Idaho were presumed to be positive.

The American Veterinary Medical Association claims that this is the first time the disease has been discovered in dairy cattle.

Days have passed since a group of newborn goats on a Minnesota farm became ill with avian flu.

Bird flu is a disease that affects birds’ digestive and respiratory systems and frequently results in bird population deaths. It can spread from wild birds to backyard flocks, commercial poultry, people, and marine and terrestrial mammals.

According to government officials, there is still little risk to the public from the present outbreak. Based on “unprotected exposures to sick or dead infected poultry,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the majority of human infections in the past have happened.

Furthermore, according to officials, the viral strain discovered in Michigan is comparable to those discovered in Texas and Kansas, where preliminary testing revealed that the virus did not contain any modifications that would increase its human transmissibility.

Federal and state officials assert that consumers of dairy products shouldn’t be adversely affected by the outbreak of bird flu cases.

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

Thus Far, There is Essentially No Effect on Customers

According to the USDA, there is no need for a milk recall because the nation’s commercial dairy supply is safe.

This is so that dairy farms can only process milk from healthy cows for human use, and they must destroy or redirect any milk from affected livestock.

Furthermore, pasteurization destroys viruses and bacteria, including influenza, and is a prerequisite for milk to be sold in interstate commerce.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is little data on the spread of avian flu in raw, unpasteurized milk. The organization has long advised against consuming raw milk because it may contain harmful bacteria and make people ill.

How Farmers and Authorities Are Collaborating to Stop the Spread

The USDA believes that a strain known as H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade 2.3.4.4b, which was probably brought in by wild birds, is to blame for the illness of the dairy cows. There were pigeons, blackbirds, and grackles at the Texas farms that were impacted.

However, government officials are also leaving open the prospect that the disease could spread from cow to cow.

That’s after, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Friday, a Michigan farm recently received a cargo of cattle from a Texas farm that was impacted, before any of the animals shown symptoms of illness.

Sick animals and unpasteurized milk samples are still being tested by federal and state organizations.

In addition, the USDA advises farmers and their veterinarians to follow “good biosecurity,” which include separating sick cows from healthy ones, testing livestock prior to relocation, and restricting animal movements.

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