Avian flu confirmed in U.S. livestock for first time

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in U.S. livestock for the first time.

Minnesota Board of Animal Health director Dr. Brian Hoefs says several baby goats became sick on a Minnesota farm that recently depopulated a backyard poultry flock because of the virus.

“These goat kids were born kind of in the mix, and really were exposed to a high level of viral load just because the birds had died. So kind of a perfect storm.”

He tells Brownfield the goats exhibited neurologic signs and because they were newborn, their immune systems could not fight off avian flu.

“This is an unusual situation where goats have developed infections to this virus (and) we consider this a dead end host when it gets into an animal or species other than the species that the virus is supposed to be in.”

Hoefs says the spread of high-path AI from goat to goat or any other animal is very unlikely and the virus remains low-risk to people.

He stresses maintaining biosecurity, especially as spring migration begins.

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