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Safety Precautions Needed with Bird Flu Cattle Cases

A human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza was found in Texas. The virus has been rampant over the last decade but has stayed mostly bird to bird. This past week a case was found in a dairy cow, causing concerns of a new form of spread.

While she thinks it’s good to be cautious, Renée Anthony, the Center Director of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, says there was a case in 2022 of a transmission from bird to human.

“That hasn’t happened since, so finding out what’s going on in Texas it’s gone from bird to cattle to human. So, we’re a little more concerned than we have been in the past. There may be a limited isolated case happening in Texas, but we really need to be prepared for the next step.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to avoid diseased or dead animals. Anthony says if a farmer can’t do that.

“Sorry guys. Put back on some respiratory protection and do some handwashing. We’re really looking at more than just wearing those cloth masks we used before. We’re really looking at wearing those N95s if we can get our hands on those when we’re working on sick cattle. The less we are breathing in air that may be contaminated with a virus, the lower our chance of inhaling that virus and having a mutated form that’s going to affect us.”

The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health has avian influenza resources for producers, including best practices and good protective equipment recommendations, which can be found on its website.