Ag Policy Blog

Avian Influenza Continues Affecting Dairy Herds

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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USDA reports 63 dairy herds in nine states have been infected with H5N1 avian influenza since late March, including 12 herds since May 20. USDA also has reported at least one condemned cow's meat also tested positive for the virus. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

Meat from a condemned dairy cow last week tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza as more dairy farms continue testing positive for the virus as well.

USDA's Food Safety Inspection System (FSIS) reported on Friday that viral particles were found in tissue samples of one out of 96 cows that were tested. Each of the cows tested were condemned and thus prohibited from entering the food supply.

FSIS staff identified signs of illness in the positive cow during a post-mortem inspection and prevented the animal from entering the food supply. "These actions provide further confidence that the food safety system we have in place is working," USDA stated.

USDA continues reporting more herd infections, Twelve dairy herds tested positive from May 20-24, which included: Four herds in Michigan, three in South Dakota, two in Colorado and Idaho, and one in Texas.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development now reports 21 dairy herds have been infected with the virus across ten counties.

Since late March, 63 dairy herds nationally have had confirmed cases of H5N1 across nine states.

Reuters report over the week that the U.S. and Europe are looking to develop H5N1 vaccines that could be used to help protect dairy and poultry workers. The U.S. has had two human cases since April, one involving a dairy worker in Texas and another involving a dairy worker in Michigan.

The Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota as well as the National Institutes of Health also cited a New England Journal of Medicine report that mice fed raw milk infected with H5N1 "quickly became ill, with high virus levels in their respiratory tissues."

Since the beginning of the outbreak, officials from federal agencies have stressed the risks of drinking raw milk.


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