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Protecting Cattle From HPAI Infection

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has infected multiple dairy herds in several states. Chris Galen with the National Milk Producers Federation says the pasteurization process kills bugs like this so it’s safe for humans to drink the milk from cattle that may have been infected with bird flu.

“You know, the fact that we are dealing with bird flu is not news. We’ve had bird flu in the U.S. for a number of years. The fact that it’s in dairy cattle, or a different species. That’s what makes us an unusual situation. I think the good news is that everything we’ve seen so far indicates that even though wild birds have introduced this to a handful of herds, it’s only about a dozen at this point. It doesn’t seem to bother or in fact, most of the animals in those herds most of the animals come back after being ill that they return to feed consumption and milk production. And it doesn’t seem to be really transmitted to people. So it’s something we’re gonna have to manage and continue monitoring. I know a lot of people are anxious but a lot of it has to do with the unknown simply because we haven’t had to deal with this virus in cattle before.

Galen says that the NFP wants to remind dairy operations that biosecurity is paramount.

“We didn’t think it was going to be an issue. But lo and behold, Mother Nature has other plans. And so we’re going to have to step up our efforts to be biosecurity and in particular look at birth control, because it’s not a mystery as to how this got introduced. We know it was transmitted from wild birds. And so it’s a challenge for a lot of farms that are close to the Flyways where we’re seeing birds migrate this time of year, but that’s the issue right? It’s not something that’s just magically appearing. It’s coming from the sky, but it’s coming from a source that we know. So at least that gives us them the opportunity to focus our resources on what’s going to try to mitigate any further spread of the virus.”