Bird flu spreads to dairy cows in Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico and Ohio

A highly virulent bird flu first detected in dairy cows in Texas and Kansas this week has spread to other herds, bringing the number of affected states to five and adding evidence that the virus could spread from one cow to another. The strain was confirmed in Michigan and presumptive positive tests were reported in Idaho and New Mexico, federal officials said Friday.

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture incorrectly reported that presumptive positive tests had also been found in Ohio.

The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza — commonly known as HPAI — has been confirmed in a Michigan dairy herd that recently received cows from Texas, according to a statement released Friday by the USDA.

The virus strain found in Michigan is similar to a strain confirmed in Texas and Kansas that appears to have been introduced by wild birds, the USDA statement said.

“The spread of symptoms within the Michigan herd also indicates that transmission of HPAI between cattle cannot be ruled out,” according to the USDA release.

Initial tests have not identified changes in the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans, according to the USDA.

“Although cases among humans in direct contact with infected animals are possible, this indicates that the current risk to the public remains low,” the agency’s statement said.

Idaho officials announced Thursday that avian flu had been detected at a Cassia County dairy cattle farm after the facility recently imported cattle from another state that had identified HPAI in cows . He did not provide details.

But in an interview, State Veterinarian Scott Leibsle said bird flu was detected in Idaho cattle after the farm imported cows from a Texas herd that showed symptoms of HPAI.

“Cow-to-cow transmission certainly plays a role in the progression of this disease. To what extent, we don’t know yet,” Leibsle said. It’s clear that infected wild birds are spreading the disease to flocks in Texas and Kansas, he said. “But the herd of cattle that was moving up from Texas to Idaho, the birds didn’t follow,” the state veterinarian said.

Federal authorities are closely monitoring the situation and have advised veterinarians and producers to practice good biosecurity, test animals if they must be moved, minimize animal movements and isolate sick cattle from the herd.

The USDA, Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are studying the disease in dairy cows., which leads to decreased milk production, poor appetite and other symptoms.

Federal officials are also working with state and local public health officials to monitor for signs of illness among people in facilities where avian flu has been detected.

Most infected animals recovered after isolation and few cattle deaths were reported, the USDA said.

Idaho’s Leibsle said “not every dairy farmer is going to want to wait one, two, three weeks” for dairy cows to recover. Some producers might decide to send the animals to the slaughterhouse as slaughter animals, he said. All this livestock will be subject to the same rigorous food safety protocols.

The USDA statement said there is still “no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply because the products are pasteurized before entering the market, nor that this circumstance presents a risk for the health of consumers.

Dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals to be processed for human consumption. Milk from infected The animals are diverted or destroyed so they do not enter the human food supply, the USDA said.

Additionally, pasteurization, required for milk entering interstate commerce for human consumption, inactivates bacteria and viruses, including flu, in milk.

Authorities have long advised consumers to avoid raw or unpasteurized milk. The FDA’s long-standing position is that unpasteurized milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms posing serious health risks to consumers.

Due to the limited information available on the transmission of HPAI in raw milk, the FDA recommends that the dairy industry not manufacture or sell raw milk or unpasteurized cheese products made from milk from cows exhibiting symptoms. disease, including those infected with avian or flock flu. exposed to cows infected with the virus.

News Source :
Gn Health

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