Researchers continue to track influenza virus in cattle

Researchers continue to investigate the transmission source of the influenza virus (highly pathogenic avian influenza in cattle) that has been found in dairy herds in multiple states.

Drew Magstadt is a clinical associate professor at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The main finding is the is the amount of virus and the reliability with which we detected in the milk,” he says. “It’s not really been something that’s been discovered before. That’s kind of the novel part of this virus.”

He tells Brownfield sequencing of the virus continues to show that it is being contracted from wild birds. “There are no mammalian markers that may imply some adaptability that may make it more transmissible between two mammals or between mammals,” he says.  “There aren’t any of those markers showing up in these particular viruses.”

Magstadt says there are still of questions that remained unanswered about the virus. “We’re trying to find out reliably how long the virus is present in milk,” he says.  “How long the virus is present in the mammary gland from a mitigation standpoint.”

He says the ability to identify the virus quickly matters. “In many of these affected dairies, the number of affected animals grows exponentially,” he says. “We’re seeing in the first three to four days of an outbreak of this syndrome that many, many animals can be affected very quickly.”

Magstadt says to date, there haven’t been any reported cases of mortality directly related to the virus.

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