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Biosecurity the Key for Keeping Animals, Workers Safe from H5N1

The recent detections of H5N1 in dairy herds highlight the need for robust biosecurity measures for all species. Dr. Marisa Rotolo, National Pork Board’s Director of Swine Health emphasizes the importance of on-farm measures to keep it that way.

“The source of infection is believed to be wild birds for these cattle. However, at this time we can’t rule out cattle to cattle transmission. We have seen one case of a person infected with H5N1, this is a dairy worker and their main clinical sign has been conjunctivitis. At this time, there have been no detections of H5N1 in swine, and it’s believed that the risk of transmission to swine for commercial herd is low.” 

Rotolo says H5N1 clinical signs producers should watch for can vary by species.

“In poultry, we’re going to see high mortality and morbidity. What’s been observed in dairy cattle has been a decrease in that milk production. A few other species have also had detections of H5N1, and those signs vary from mild disease to neurologic signs.” 

Rotolo offers these tips to pork producers to keep their pigs and farmworkers safe

“Individuals should avoid contact and/or utilize appropriate PPE when working with infected flocks or coming into contact with wild birds. The best thing that producers can do for their animals is to implement heightened biosecurity measures aimed at preventing interaction between their animals and wild birds. And more importantly, everyone should receive their yearly flu vaccine.” 

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