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Bird flu virus is abundant in the milk of sick cows • Iowa Capital Dispatch



Bird flu virus is abundant in the milk of sick cows • Iowa Capital Dispatch

Dairy cattle contaminated by avian influenza in latest months have surprisingly massive quantities of the virus of their milk however little in different bodily fluids, in keeping with checks by the Iowa State College Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

That makes it straightforward to verify whether or not a lactating cow is contaminated however makes testing harder for different cattle as federal agriculture officers try to be taught the extent of bovine infections throughout the nation.

In nasal secretions, blood, feces and urine, “we are able to discover an occasional constructive, however these positives are at ranges which might be virtually undetectable,” mentioned Dr. Drew Magstadt, a cattle illness researcher on the Ames lab.

His feedback had been a part of a web-based ISU Extension and Outreach dialogue concerning the virus on Wednesday.


Magstadt found about six weeks in the past that extremely pathogenic avian influenza was the supply of a thriller sickness amongst dairy cattle in Texas. It had by no means been identified to contaminate cattle in america earlier than.

Since then, the virus has been detected in herds in eight different states, most lately in Colorado. That unfold has been brought on by the motion of dairy cows from contaminated herds to beforehand unaffected herds.

Genetic testing revealed that wild birds initially contaminated cattle with the virus, however the USDA has discovered proof that it has since unfold from cow to cow and from cattle to poultry. At the least one contaminated dairy cow had no signs of sickness.

FDA: Virus fragments in milk provide

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration introduced final week that fragments of the virus have been detected within the nation’s industrial milk provide regardless that milk from sick cows is barred from distribution. On Wednesday, it mentioned testing has confirmed that pasteurization — a means of heating milk to kill pathogens — inactivates the virus.

Checks of milk, cottage cheese and bitter cream “didn’t detect any stay, infectious virus,” the FDA mentioned.

FDA strongly warned in opposition to ingesting uncooked milk. Some states, together with Iowa, have sought in recent times to broaden the unpasteurized milk’s availability for buy.

Additionally on Wednesday, the USDA mentioned checks of floor beef in states the place the virus has been detected confirmed no proof of the virus. Dairy cattle are sometimes slaughtered for his or her meat when their milk manufacturing drops.

Iowa just isn’t imposing quarantine on sick cows

Beginning this week, the division requires most lactating dairy cattle to check unfavorable for the virus earlier than they are often transported to completely different states.

Iowa would require labs to report all confirmations of the virus whatever the animal species, mentioned Dr. Jeff Kaisand, the state veterinarian and a bureau chief for the Iowa Division of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

For now, IDALS won’t quarantine dairy farms if their cattle are contaminated, Kaisand mentioned. Most states have taken an identical method, he mentioned.

Dr. Yuko Sato, an ISU professor who has researched the virus in poultry, mentioned dairy farmers ought to take extra precautions than what is likely to be required by authorities officers. She mentioned a fowl flu outbreak in 2015 was largely pushed by farm-to-farm unfold that was the results of inadequate biosecurity measures. About 33 million poultry had been culled in Iowa that yr.

“We waited for the federal authorities to present us steerage, so we sort of sat on our palms a bit of bit,” she mentioned. “I encourage the dairy trade to take a proactive stance and take a look at to take a look at artistic options, as a result of we’re studying as we communicate.”

Extremely pathogenic avian influenza is usually deadly to poultry — particularly chickens — however contaminated cows often get better in 10 to 14 days.

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