No HPAI detected yet in Illinois dairy cattle; monitoring increased

The Illinois state veterinarian is encouraging producers to closely monitor their dairy herds for symptoms of the H5N1 influenza virus.

Dr. Mark Ernst tells Brownfield…

“They drop milk production.”  He says, “Milk became thick, almost colostrum like; they go off feed. Some would exhibit fevers, some variability in their hydration status.”

The virus has been detected in cows in nine states.  USDA has implemented mandatory testing for interstate movement of dairy cattle as well as mandatory reporting of positive results to limit the spread of the disease.

Ernst recommends increased biosecurity measures to protect herd health.

“If they are going to be moving any cattle out, or if they receive any cattle in, I think it’s a very good idea to practice isolation.”  He says, “Good sanitation, obviously.  Traffic on and off the farm should be limited to essential traffic as well.”

Ernst says affected cows are recovering, and the Centers for Disease Control maintains the risk to humans is low.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasizes that the commercial milk supply is safe because of the pasteurization process, which destroys bacteria and viruses in milk. Protocols are also in place to destroy milk from affected dairy animals.

Any producers who may notice possible symptoms in their herd should contact their veterinarian and the state department of agriculture.

AUDIO: Dr. Mark Ernst – Illinois State Veterinarian

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