Dairy cattle illness traced to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed as the mystery illness detected in dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas.  Wild migratory birds are believed to be the source of the infection. 

USDA says unpasteurized, clinical samples of milk from sick cattle collected from two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas tested positive for HPAI Monday, and additional testing is underway. 

Dr. Darlene Konkle

Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Darlene Konkle tells Brownfield HPAI in cattle is unusual. “We know that mammals can become infected. Wild mammals that are scavenging on waterfowl carcasses and things had been some of the first detections and now we’re seeing it in some other mammals as well, so this is the latest of those.”

Konkle says the investigation is far from over. “There certainly may be more to come. USDA epidemiologists and laboratory personnel are working with the states that are seeing this disease in dairy cattle to try and find out as much as they can.”

Brownfield has reached out to other states, and so far, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin confirm they have no reported cases of the illness in their herds. USDA has not reached a conclusion on similar dairy cattle illnesses in New Mexico. Minnesota officials confirmed finding HPAI in goats last week.

Federal and state agencies are moving quickly to conduct additional testing for HPAI, as well as viral genome sequencing, so industries can better understand the situation, including characterization of the HPAI strain or strains associated with these detections.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed there is no threat to human health, and milk and meat remain safe to consume.  Dairies are also required to only allow milk from healthy animals to enter the food supply chain.  In addition, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce.

USDA says milk loss resulting from symptomatic cattle to date is too limited to have a major impact on supply and there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products.

AUDIO: Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Darlene Konkl discusses the discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza in dairy cattle with Brownfield’s Larry Lee.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News