North Carolina reports bird flu in dairy cattle

USAgNet - 04/12/2024

North Carolina has become the latest state to report cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in its dairy herds, making it the seventh state to face such an outbreak. The infection, commonly referred to as bird flu, was confirmed in a dairy herd by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

To prevent further spread, North Carolina has halted cattle movement from states like Texas and Kansas, where similar cases were previously reported. This decision follows the discovery of the virus in over 20 herds across the country since late March.

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners has decided to call the disease "Bovine Influenza A Virus" to differentiate it from strains affecting birds, emphasizing the safety of milk and beef products. Despite the unusual transmission of the virus to cattle, experts are investigating possible sources of the outbreak, including contaminated equipment and worker clothing.

Although a farm worker in Texas tested positive after contact with infected cattle, the risk to the public remains low. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises farm workers to use personal protective equipment when near affected animals.

The situation remains critical, with ongoing efforts to understand the transmission and mutation of the virus. While affected cattle are being treated without the need for culling, the implications for dairy and beef production are still being evaluated.

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