USDA confirms Avian Flu in Idaho dairy cattle

USAgNet - 04/03/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a troubling discovery in Idaho - a dairy herd tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), marking a first for the state. This detection expands the presence of HPAI to dairy herds across five states, including Texas, Kansas, Michigan, and New Mexico.

With ongoing confirmatory tests for additional states, the USDA underscores the importance of vigilance and biosecurity among dairy farmers. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories plays a critical role in these confirmations, aiming to prevent the disease's spread.

Public health agencies, including the CDC and FDA, collaborate closely to ensure the safety of both the public and the dairy supply. Despite concerns, the risk to public health remains low, thanks to strict dairy processing protocols and the effectiveness of pasteurization in eliminating harmful pathogens from milk.

In response to these developments, federal and state agencies encourage prompt reporting of cattle illnesses and adherence to enhanced biosecurity measures. The FDA has issued specific recommendations regarding the handling of raw milk and dairy products from affected herds to mitigate any potential risks.

This situation underscores the intricate balance between agricultural practices, public health, and food safety, emphasizing the need for continued cooperation among farmers, veterinarians, and health officials. As investigations and testing proceed, the primary goal remains to safeguard public health while minimizing the impact on the dairy industry.

Despite the challenges posed by HPAI detections, the USDA reassures the public about the ongoing safety of the commercial milk supply and the limited impact on dairy prices and supply, thanks to robust seasonal production and stringent safety measures.

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Sheah Auguers/SD Ellenbecker