H5N1 another reason not to drink raw milk

Researchers say drinking raw, unpasteurized milk puts consumers at a higher risk of contracting the H5N1 virus.

Dr. Keith Poulson with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin tells Brownfield they’ve been comparing the potential for virus transmission from pasteurized and raw milk. “It really shows that the virus survives really, really well at refrigerated temperatures in raw milk, so it’s another good pointer to not drink raw milk.  It also shows where viruses shed in the different components of milk, being in the cream and the skim.”

He says the tests simulated high-temperature pasteurization, which reduced the virus in infected milk by more than 99.99%.

Poulson says Texas A & M collaborated with him and UW–Madison professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka in the study.  He says the team inoculated mice with untreated milk samples, and the mice began showing symptoms of illness after just one day with high levels of virus in their respiratory tracts and a significant amount of virus in their mammary glands, aligning with the high levels of virus found in infected cows’ milk.

Poulson says the Food and Drug Administration was able to replicate their recently-published research in the New England Journal of Medicine showing a very important food safety fact. “Solidifying that pasteurized dairy products are safe.”

Poulson says this research shows the resources available at the University of Wisconsin and their ability to help the dairy and food industry during this outbreak.

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