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Highly pathogenic avian influenza affects dairy cows in the United States

Highly pathogenic avian influenza affects dairy cows in the United States

In the United States, highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in sick cows for the first time, according to the US Department of Agriculture, USDA.

Various dairy farms in the states of Texas, Kansas and New Mexico have for some time struggled with inexplicably sick cows that tend to eat less and produce poor milk. Animals show flu-like symptoms, fever and produce thick, discolored milk. Bird flu virus has now been detected in milk samples from sick cows on two farms in Kansas and one in Texas.

Migratory birds

The virus may have been introduced by migratory wild birds. Dead migratory birds have also been found on farms. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the first preliminary studies from veterinary laboratories suggest that the bird flu virus has not yet mutated to a level that is easily transmissible to humans. Federal and state agencies will now quickly conduct more tests on the virus to get more clarity on which strain it is.

According to the USDA, there is still no risk to public health. Dairies can only process milk from healthy animals for human consumption, milk from animals infected with bird flu is destroyed or diverted. In addition, the ministry said that pasteurization is sufficient to kill viruses and bacteria.

Report sick animals

Farmers and veterinarians are encouraged to report sick cows so that possible new cases can be quickly identified.

On farms with a high prevalence of avian influenza in cattle, approximately 10 percent of animals show clinical signs, with fewer or no deaths reported. Older cows are especially susceptible. According to the USDA, milk loss is currently very low. There is no question of killing bird flu in poultry farms. Experts expect the cows to eventually make a full recovery.

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A few days ago, bird flu was detected on a goat farm in the state of Minnesota, the first case of bird flu on a cattle farm.