April 13, 2024
Image of cows

Wild migratory birds possible unfold a lethal pressure of hen flu to dairy cows in Texas and Kansas, state and federal officials introduced this week.

It’s believed to be the primary time the virus, a extremely pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), has been present in cows within the US. Final week, officers in Minnesota confirmed discovering an HPAI case in a young goat, marking the primary time the virus has been present in a home ruminant within the US.

According to the Associated Press, officers with the Texas Animal Well being Fee confirmed the flu virus is the Sort A H5N1 pressure, which has been ravaging hen populations across the globe for a number of years. The explosive, ongoing unfold of the virus has led to many spillover occasions into mammals, making epidemiologists anxious that the virus might adapt to unfold extensively in people.

For now, the danger to the general public is low. According to a release from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), genetic testing by the Nationwide Veterinary Companies Laboratories indicated that H5N1 pressure that unfold to the cows does not seem to comprise any mutations that might make it extra transmissible to people. Although the flu pressure was present in some milk samples from the contaminated cows, the USDA emphasised that every one the milk from affected animals is being diverted and destroyed. Dairy farms are required to ship solely milk from wholesome animals to be processed for human consumption. Nonetheless, even when some flu-contaminated milk was processed for human consumption, the usual pasteurization course of inactivates viruses, together with influenza, in addition to micro organism.

To this point, officers consider the virus is primarily affecting older cows. The virus was detected in milk from sick cows on two farms in Kansas and one in Texas, in addition to in a throat swab from a cow on a second Texas farm. The USDA famous that farmers have discovered lifeless birds on their properties, indicating publicity to contaminated birds. Sick cows have additionally been reported in New Mexico. Signs of the hen flu in cows seem to incorporate decreased milk manufacturing and low urge for food.

However to this point, the USDA believes the unfold of H5N1 won’t considerably have an effect on milk manufacturing or the herds. Milk loss has been restricted; solely about 10 p.c of affected herds have proven indicators of the an infection, and there was “little to no related mortality.” The USDA recommended it would stay vigilant, calling the infections a “quickly evolving scenario.”

Whereas federal and state officers proceed to trace the virus, Texas officers intention to guarantee customers. “There is no such thing as a menace to the general public and there shall be no provide shortages,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller stated in a statement. “No contaminated milk is thought to have entered the meals chain; it has all been dumped. Within the uncommon occasion that some affected milk enters the meals chain, the pasteurization course of will kill the virus.”