H5N1 might impact animal movement to local fairs

The spread of the H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus to lactating dairy cows might impact the ability to show cattle this summer at fairs.

Dr. Katie Cornille with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health tells Brownfield there might be additional precautions taken this year, but no decision has been made. “We also want to be mindful of the county fair season, and in the next day or so, we’ll be able to issue more specific guidance on that for any lactating dairy animals that may be going to an exhibition event like a county fair.”

Lisa Behnke with World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin tells Brownfield they are closely monitoring the H5N1 situation and will relay directives and new information to exhibitors and attendees as it is provided by USDA, the state, and the veterinary community. “We will be working with, again, the veterinary community and our regulators to make sure that World Dairy Expo upholds any recommendations they have that will ensure the safety and viability of our U.S. dairy herd. That is our utmost concern.”

Behnke says World Dairy Expo has until September to finalize show guidelines, but many local fairs begin in the next few weeks and they don’t have much time to prepare.

Michigan has already banned showing lactating cattle, and cattle in the last two months of pregnancy in an effort to prevent spreading H5N1.

Minnesota and Iowa confirmed their first H5N1 dairy outbreaks Wednesday.  Iowa reported a second dairy herd case Friday. Eighty-five herds in eleven states have been affected by the virus, including herds in Texas, Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and North Carolina.

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