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Maryland imposes cattle restrictions - April 10

“Maryland is home to a robust dairy and cattle genetics industry. We are implementing this order to protect our farmers and the agricultural industry at large,” explained Maryland Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. He emphasized the importance of stringent biosecurity measures to isolate sick cattle and quarantine new arrivals for at least two weeks.

HPAI detected in North Carolina dairy herd - April 10

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory has detected Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a dairy herd in North Carolina. HPAI has previously been detected in dairy herds in Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, and Ohio. Movement of cattle from affected herds in these states to North Carolina has been suspended. 

“This is an evolving situation, and we are waiting for more diagnostics from NVSL and will work collaboratively with our federal partners and dairy farmers in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.   “We have spent years developing methods to handle HPAI in poultry, but this is new and we are working with our state and federal partners to develop protocols to handle this situation. It is important to note the FDA has no concern about the safety or availability of pasteurized milk products nationwide.”

 

More states begin to restrict cattle imports from those with influenza cases - April 9

In an effort to prevent domestic cattle from being exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI, more specifically avian influenza Type A H5N1), 17 states have restricted cattle importations from states where the virus is known to have infected dairy cows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, TennesseeUtah, and West Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will not be issuing federal quarantine orders at this time, nor is the agency recommending any state quarantines or official hold orders on cattle, the agency announced April 2.

“However, we strongly recommend minimizing movement of cattle as much as possible, with special attention to evaluating risk and factoring that risk into movement decisions. Do not move sick or exposed animals.”

Because of the constantly evolving nature of influenza viruses, the World Health Organization and other animal health organizations continue to stress the importance of surveillance to detect and monitor virological, epidemiological, and clinical changes associated with emerging or circulating influenza viruses that may affect human or animal health.

If cattle must be moved, then APHIS strongly encourages “extreme diligence” by producers, veterinarians, and animal health officials to ensure only healthy cattle are moving and to ensure the validity of interstate health certificates.

WOAH, WHO, and CDC announcements

The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH, formerly the OIE) said in an April 5 announcement that the ongoing spread of HPAI in different regions of the world, alongside the recent detections of cases in cattle, is raising concerns within the international community that such infections in cattle could indicate an increased risk of H5N1 viruses becoming better adapted to mammals, and potentially spilling over to humans and other livestock. 

“Initial investigations so far have revealed no specific adaptation to either humans or mammals,” the announcement states. “Regardless, several studies are being carried out to further explore the virulence and transmissibility of these viruses, including among cattle, and to assess the risk of transmission to animals and humans, which is currently considered very low.”

Yet, WOAH stopped short of endorsing restrictions on the movement of healthy cattle and their products, saying this is not recommended unless justified by an import risk analysis conducted according to WOAH guidelines.

(American Veterinary Medical Association - Segment)

American Association of Bovine Practitioners decides to reference cattle disease as Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV) - April 8

On Sunday evening, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), released a letter to its media partners to update them on how the organization will reference the emerging cattle disease, currently confirmed in dairy herds in six states, moving forward. 

"Because this infection in cattle is not the same as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), after thoughtful consideration and discussion with many experts, the AABP will now refer to this as Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV), which more accurately depicts it," wrote Geni Wren, director of marketing and communications for the organization, in an email accompanying the letter.

The letter was developed and signed by AABP executive director, Fred Gingrich, DVM, and president Michael Capel, DVM.

Gingrich and Capel are asking other organizations, state animal health officials, diagnostic labs, and state and federal agencies to use Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV) "so we can be consistent with our messaging and better distinguish the disease syndrome in cattle from the pathogenesis in birds. We believe it is important for the public to understand the difference to maintain confidence in the safety and accessibility of beef and dairy products for consumers," they wrote.

Pennsylvania to require HPAI testing for dairy cows - April 8

The state has not yet recorded a positive test, but wild bird migrations could lead to future problems. Quarantine order was officially released requiring cattle imported from a state where HPAI was detected to be tested within five days of movement. Testing must be from a representative sample of 30 animals in a shipment, and the animals must have been together for 30 days.

“There is no cause for panic,” said Lisa Graybeal, deputy secretary of agriculture, during a meeting put on Friday by PennAg Industries.

(Segment of full)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory - April 5

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to inform clinicians, state health departments, and the public of a recently confirmed human infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus in the United States following exposure to presumably infected dairy cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in U.S. dairy cattle in multiple states. This Health Advisory also includes a summary of interim CDC recommendations for preventing, monitoring, and conducting public health investigations of potential human infections with HPAI A(H5N1) virus.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Restricts Import of Cattle From Areas With HPAI- April 5, 2024

Due to the recent highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detections in livestock on the mainland, the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has placed a restriction on the transport of cattle from premises where HPAI has infected cattle. Currently, HPAI has been detected in dairy cattle in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Idaho, Ohio and Michigan; however, the restriction will be placed on any future areas where HPAI-infected cattle are found. No infected cattle have been detected in Hawai‘i.

“The Animal Disease Control Branch has been closely monitoring this situation and is establishing these restrictions to help protect Hawai‘i’s livestock,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “To date, HPAI has not been detected in birds, poultry, livestock or other animal species in Hawai‘i.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently considers the effect on human health as low risk even in areas on the mainland where HPAI infections in animals have occurred.

The restrictions established by HDOA’s Animal Disease Control Branch are effective, today, April 5, 2024. HDOA already requires certificates of veterinary inspection (CVI) issued by an accredited veterinarian for imported cattle, but is adding the requirement that health certificates must include a statement by the veterinarian that “All animals identified on this Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) have been inspected by me and do not originate from premises with a confirmed detection of HPAI in cattle or premises that is currently under investigation with a suspect herd.”

Additionally, eligible cattle from unaffected premises in states where HPAI has been detected in cattle, must be inspected within 72 hours of shipment and found to be free of signs of HPAI infection. The additional statement should appear on the CVI for these animals: “I have examined the animals identified on this certificate within 72 hours of shipment and found them to be free of signs of HPAI infection."

Bird flu may be spreading in cows via milking and herd transport - April 4, 2024

The bird flu virus spreading through dairy cattle in the United States may be expanding its reach via milking equipment, the people doing the milking, or both, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives reported today at an international, virtual meeting held to update the situation.

The avian virus may not be spreading directly from cows breathing on cows, as some researchers have speculated, according to USDA scientists who took part in the meeting, organized jointly by the World Organisation for Animal Health and the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization. “We haven't seen any true indication that the cows are actively shedding virus and exposing it directly to other animals,” said USDA’s Mark Lyons, who directs ruminant health for the agency and presented some of its data. The finding might also point to ways to protect humans. So far one worker at a dairy farm with infected cattle was found to have the virus, but no other human cases have been confirmed.

USDA researchers tested milk, nasal swabs, and blood from cows at affected dairies and only found clear signals of the virus in the milk. “Right now, we don't have evidence that the virus is actively replicating within the body of the cow other than the udder,” Suelee Robbe Austerman of USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory told the gathering.

The virus might be transmitted from cow to cow in milk droplets on dairy workers’ clothing or gloves, or in the suction cups attached to the udders for milking, Lyons said. (In a 30 March interview with Science, Thijs Kuiken, a leading avian influenza researcher at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, had suggested the milking machines might be responsible because the components may not always be disinfected between cows.)

The influenza virus causing the outbreak, an H5N1 subtype that is known as clade 2.3.4.4b, has devastated wild birds and poultry around the world for more than 2 years, and researchers at first thought migratory birds were responsible for spreading it to all of the affected dairy farms. But USDA scientists now think the movement of cattle, which are frequently transported from the southern parts of the country to the Midwest and north in the spring, may also have played an important role. And they floated the possibility, without naming specific herds or locations, that all affected cows may trace back to a single farm.

Since first revealing the infection of dairy cows with this bird flu virus on 25 March, USDA has confirmed it has spread to cattle in six states. And the agency has used the virus' genetics to track its movements. The virus found on U.S. farms has a specific genetic signature, which led USDA to name it 3.13. “It's not a common [strain], but it's very much a descendant of the viruses that have been dominating the flyways in the Pacific and the central flyways in the United States,” Robbe Austerman said.

The USDA scientists reported that the agency’s analysis of the different viruses from the cows indicates they likely came from one source. Cows from infected farms in Texas appear to have moved the virus to farms in Idaho, Michigan, and Ohio. “The cow viruses so far have all been similar enough that it would be consistent with a single spillover event or a couple of very closely related spillover events,” Robbe Austerman said. “So far we don’t have any evidence that this is being introduced multiple times into the cows.”

The virus in cows could spread to poultry, which has that industry on edge. USDA tightly regulates avian influenza virus strains that are deadly to poultry, requiring culling of entire flocks if one bird tests positive for this H5N1 or one of its relatives; to date, commercial and backyard poultry farms have had to cull 85 million birds because of this virus. But USDA is not calling for any such drastic measures with cow herds.

In response to questions from Science, Ashley Peterson, who handles regulatory affairs for the National Chicken Council, said “out of an abundance of caution, we believe it is prudent to restrict the movement of cows from positive herds.” Although some researchers agree USDA should stop the transport of dairy cows, the agency has so far declined to take that disruptive action. “We heavily rely on the producers who have been isolating the animals within the dairy herds,” Lyons said. USDA also says it has no evidence of beef cattle becoming infected.

USDA and the Food and Drug Administration have stressed that pasteurization kills viruses, so there is “no concern” about the safety of commercial milk. They do recommend people not consume raw milk or products made from it.

Sources tell Science some dairy farms that were later shown to be infected first noticed dead cats as early as mid-February. The animals, which often drink spilled milk on farms, “were the canary in the mine,” one said. The cows’ milk was also unusually thick. Those signs, coupled with the discovery of dead birds on the farms, led to the testing of cow milk for the bird flu virus and the 25 March USDA announcement.

Oddly, the dead birds on infected farms were not waterfowl, the migratory birds that typically spread the avian flu viruses to poultry, but “peridomestic” species such as grackles, blackbirds, and pigeons. One farm had the virus detected in poultry before it was found in its cows, and although Robbe Austerman said she hesitated to call it the “ancestral strain,” she noted that “all of the detection so far in cattle are clustered around that.”

Further studies should clarify how the virus wound up in cows, which sometimes become infected with flu viruses but have never before been shown to have one that causes high mortality in birds. One possibility is that birds infected cows by shedding their droppings in the cows’ feed or water. But bird flu viruses in the past have also spread for many kilometers in the wind, moving from one poultry farm to another. So the current H5N1 strain could have moved from waterfowl to poultry to cattle—or directly from poultry to cattle and then even to the peridomestic birds. “This could be a multifactorial presentation that we're seeing,” Lyons said. “Lots of questions still to be answered.”

(science.org via University of Nebraska Medical Center website)

States with HPAI-infected dairy cows grows to six (Ohio)/Cats found with HPAI - April 4, 2024

A herd of dairy cattle in Ohio has been infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), increasing the number of states with dairy operations affected by the virus to six.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) on April 3 announced it had received confirmation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) of HPAI infection in a dairy cattle herd in Wood County, Ohio.

The USDA previously confirmed the H5N1 strain of HPAI in dairy cattle on seven Texas farms, two in Kansas, and one each in New Mexico, Michigan, and Idaho.

The affected Ohio dairy operation reportedly received cows on March 8 from a Texas dairy that later reported a confirmed detection of HPAI. Ohio’s animal health officials were notified of this when the livestock began showing clinical signs consistent with those in sick, lactating dairy cows in other states.

Another new development in the ongoing HPAI outbreak is that three sick cats on one of the affected Texas farms have tested positive for the virus. Wild birds are the primary vector of the virus, which has been shown capable of infecting several species of mammals, including cats.

(Segments - American Veterinary Medical Association)

 

Dairy Biosecurity Training Videos/Resources - April 4, 2024

The following videos and materials provide essential personnel with some of the information they need to be part of the herd health protection team.

https://securemilksupply.org/training-materials/biosecurity/

Cattle Movement/Employee Guidelines from APHIS - April 3, 2024

Movement of cattle
• At this time, USDA will not be issuing Federal quarantine orders, nor is APHIS recommending any State regulatory quarantines or official hold orders on cattle.
• HOWEVER, we strongly recommend minimizing movement of cattle as much as possible, with special attention to evaluating risk and factoring that risk into movement decisions.
• Do not move sick or exposed animals.
• If cattle must be moved, we strongly encourage extreme diligence by producers, veterinarians, and animal health officials to ensure only healthy cattle are moving and to ensure the validity of interstate health certificates. APHIS stands ready to assist SAHOs with developing language for interstate certificates of veterinary inspection, as needed.
• If cattle must be moved, APHIS recommends premovement testing of milk samples from lactating cows and nasal swabs for non-lactating cattle, by PCR for Influenza A and H5 virus, at a NAHLN laboratory for individual animals (statistical sample of lots). Premovement testing will not be funded by APHIS. It should be noted that how the virus is infecting dairy cattle, the duration, and route of HPAI (H5N1) virus shedding is yet unknown; a negative result does not guarantee disease freedom. Additional recommendations for testing can be found here.
• APHIS scientists are working to establish testing protocols, rapidly assessing currently available tests and test performance including sample type to better understand the characteristics; based on this analysis, we may recommend surveillance other than testing sick cows in the future.

Worker Safety (contributed by CDC)
CDC’s current recommendations are as follows:
• Persons working with or around cattle, including those working with or disposing of milk waste, that are suspected or confirmed with HPAI (H5N1) virus infection should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when in direct or close contact (within about 6 feet) with sick or dead animals, animal feces, litter, milk, or materials known to be or potentially contaminated with HPAI (H5N1) viruses.
• Recommended PPE includes properly fitted unvented or indirectly vented safety goggles or a face shield (if there is risk of liquid splash onto the respirator), disposable gloves, boots or boot covers, a NIOSH Approved® particulate respirator (e.g., N95® filtering facepiece respirator)*, disposable fluid-resistant coveralls, and disposable head cover or hair cover. Perform thorough hand washing before putting on and taking off PPE.
o For younger children, it is important to remember that respirators are designed primarily to be used by adults in workplaces. The risks and benefits of children using them are not yet fully known. Additionally, for a respirator to be most effective, it must form a seal to the face to keep particles from leaking around the edges. Some respirators may be too big for younger children’s faces.
• Persons working with or around cattle, even if not in close contact, should avoid eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum, and other such activities in potentially contaminated areas; avoid rubbing or touching the eyes, as it can result in conjunctivitis (pink eye); and perform thorough handwashing regularly, especially before eating, smoking, touching your face, and leaving work (including breaks), and before and after wearing PPE or going to the bathroom.
• People exposed to HPAI (H5N1) virus-infected cattle (including people wearing recommended PPE) should be monitored for signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness beginning after their first  exposure and for 10 days after their last exposure. Signs and symptoms in people can include:
o Mild illness (e.g., cough, sore throat, eye redness or eye discharge such as conjunctivitis, fever or feeling feverish, rhinorrhea, fatigue, myalgia, arthralgia, headache) o Moderate to severe illness: (e.g., shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, altered mental status, seizures)
o Complications: pneumonia, respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, multi-organ failure (respiratory and kidney failure), sepsis, meningoencephalitis
• If any person exposed to HPAI (H5N1) virus infected cattle develops acute respiratory illness symptoms (see above) during the monitoring period, the State health department (including the State Public Health Veterinarian or equivalent) should be notified, the sick person should be isolated, and respiratory tract specimens should be collected for influenza A and A (H5) testing at a state health department laboratory. Empiric antiviral treatment with oseltamivir (twice daily x 5 days) should be prescribed and administered as soon as possible to any person with suspected H5N1 virus infection.
• When relevant, animal health and public health officials should use a One Health collaborative approach to conduct epidemiological investigations into animal and human infections of HPAI (H5N1)

(APHIS - 2 sections taken from larger recommendation document)

U.S. Dairy Export Council - April 3, 2024

Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued two important updates on the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) (H5N1) virus in dairy cattle as well as one person. Please see below.

From an export perspective, there are no known export disruptions or barriers to U.S. dairy trade and exports at this time. Again, our industry is working with federal partners including USDA to ensure trading partners rely on the OIE-acknowledged, science-based food safety steps taken in U.S. dairy processing to prevent any unnecessary and unfair barriers to trade.

Below are specific updates on the situation as of Tuesday:

  1. CDC confirms HPAI H5N1 virus infection reported in a person in the U.S. – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a person in the U.S. has tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza HPAI H5N1 virus, as reported by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. According to the CDC, the person had exposure to dairy cattle in Texas presumed to be infected with HPAI. The patient reported eye redness (consistent with conjunctivitis), as their only symptom, and is recovering. The patient was told to isolate and is being treated with an antiviral drug for flu.

CDC and Texas DSHS stated Tuesday that avian influenza (H5N1) viruses have only rarely been transmitted from person to person. As such, the risk to the general public remains low at this time. However, people with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals (including livestock), or to environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals, are at greater risk of infection. USDA, FDA, CDC and state public and animal health agencies have issued guidance to dairy farmers underscoring the need for advanced biosecurity protocols to protect human and animal health and secure our nation’s food supply.

  1. Pasteurized milk and dairy remain safe – consumers should avoid raw milk – The USDA, CDC, FDA, and state of Texas affirmed again Tuesday that pasteurized milk and dairy products remain safe to consume. U.S. dairy products are pasteurized before entering the marketplace. Pasteurization is proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza inclusive of avian influenza, in milk. Routine testing and well-established protocols for U.S. dairy also continue to ensure that only safe milk enters the food supply. The federal Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) prohibits milk from sick cows from entering the food supply chain. Sick or affected dairy cows are segregated on farms, as is normal practice with any animal health concern, and their milk does not enter the food supply. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce for human consumption.

Additionally, USDA and FDA remind consumers that raw milk should not be consumed regardless of its availability. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella, among others. As this situation continues to evolve, USDA and FDA strongly recommend that all raw milk and raw milk components be heat treated to a temperature and duration that kills harmful pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms, including viruses inclusive of HPAI, regardless of the product’s intended use for human or animal consumption. FDA also recommends out of an abundance of caution that milk from cows in an affected herd not be used to produce raw milk cheeses.

  1. USDA confirms HPAI in dairy herd in New Mexico, as well as 5 additional dairy herds in Texas – USDA also confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a dairy herd in New Mexico, as well as 5 additional dairy herds in Texas. APHIS shared on March 29 that its National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, was working to confirm presumptive positive test results from New Mexico, Texas and Idaho herds; this announcement is a follow up to that information.

Federal and state agencies continue to conduct additional testing in swabs from sick animals and in unpasteurized clinical milk samples from sick animals, as well as viral genome sequencing, to assess whether HPAI or another unrelated disease may be underlying any symptoms. The NVSL has also confirmed that the strain of the virus found in subsequent states is very similar to the strain originally confirmed in cattle in Texas and Kansas that appears to have been introduced by wild birds (H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade 2.3.4.4b).

  • Advanced biosecurity remains paramount – robust biosecurity protocols are critical to preventing and managing HPAI on dairy farms. HPAI is primarily spread by birds to animals, including mammals, and will spread on farms by people carrying matter from infected birds—such as dust, dander, and bird droppings—on their clothing, gloves, soles of their shoes, vehicle tires, animal trailers, and other equipment, in addition to contaminated water. As we learn more about vectors of transmission, guidance and resources may be expanded.
  • Reporting is key – If farmers suspect their cows are sick, veterinarians should report illnesses to state vet authorities as soon as possible. USDA has told the dairy community and practitioners that cattle are expected to fully recover in a few weeks and there is no need to cull dairy cows as HPAI poses a low risk to human health. In the meantime, USDA strongly recommends limited or cautious movement of cattle, testing before moving cattle, and quarantining cattle upon arrival at their destination. USDA will continue to share information as they learn more.
  • CDC recommends prevention measures for farm workers – CDC outlines recommendations for preventing exposures HPAI H5N1.

American Veterinary Medical Association Update - April 2, 2024

More dairy cattle in Idaho, New Mexico, and Texas have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced April 1 and 2 that these mark the first known cases of HPAI in cattle in Idaho and New Mexico, and add to the two detections in Texas and two in Kansas that were announced on March 25.

To date, the USDA has confirmed the detection of HPAI in seven dairy herds in Texas, two in Kansas, and one each in Idaho, Michigan, and New Mexico. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) is currently performing confirmatory tests on presumptive positive results from Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas. While these samples are from cattle with at least some clinical signs in common with other cattle diagnosed with HPAI, the USDA says the presence of HPAI should not be considered confirmed until the NVSL analysis is complete.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in herds in five states: Texas (7), Kansas (2), Idaho (1), Michigan (1), and New Mexico (1). In addition, presumptive positive test results for herds in Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas are still pending analysis at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

The NVSL has also confirmed that the H5N1 strain of the virus found in subsequent states is very similar to the strain originally confirmed in cattle in Texas and Kansas that appears to have been introduced by wild birds. 

The Michigan dairy herd had recently received cows from Texas, according to the USDA.

Tennessee order of the state veterinarian - April 2, 2024

I, Dr. Samantha Beaty, State Veterinarian and Assistant Commissioner for Animal Health, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Tennessee, do hereby order the following import provisions, effectively immediately:

I. No Dairy Cattle exhibiting clinical signs and testing positive for HPAI shall be allowed to move into Tennessee.

2. All adult Dairy Cattle entering Tennessee from states affected by HPAI in Dairy Cattle shall require permitting by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and may be required to complete pre-movement testing as determined by the State Veterinarian.

3. Failure to abide by these import requirements shall result in a whole premises quarantine on imported animals for 21 days and negative PCR testing for HPAI before release from quarantine.

This Order shall expire on May 3, 2024, unless extended or rescinded. To request permitting or for more information, call (615) 837-5120.

(TN.gov)

 

Cal-Maine Foods halts egg production at Texas facility after detecting bird flue - April 2, 2024

Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods said on Tuesday it had temporarily halted production at its Texas facility after detecting avian influenza, which has led to the culling of about 1.6 million laying hens.

The move comes amid rising concern over the rapid spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in birds and mammals and just a day after Texas reported the second case of the strain in a human in the United States.

The company said it had culled about 3.6% of its total flock as of last month, including 337,000 pullets — or young hens, after its facility in Parmer Country, Texas, tested positive.

Cal-Maine said it was working with government officials and industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.

Since 2022, 82 million U.S. chickens, turkeys and other birds have been culled due to a deadly strain of the virus, which has spread to many corners of the world and has even been found in the frozen continent of Antarctica.

Cal-Maine said that no eggs have been recalled as there is no risk related to bird flu associated with eggs. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the influenza cannot be transmitted through properly cooked eggs.

On Monday, Texas and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a case of bird flu in a person who had contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with the virus, as the highly pathogenic influenza spreads to new mammals, including dairy cattle.

The USDA said in February the country was about 18 months away from identifying a vaccine for the current strain of bird flu.

The deadly strain has killed wildlife, including a few dolphins, about 50,000 seals and sea lions and about half a million birds in South America since it arrived in the region in 2022.  (Reuters)

Nebraska Issues Restrictions, Provides Updates - April 1, 2024

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) continues to monitor the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in dairy cattle. HPAI has been detected in lactating dairy cattle in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan, and Idaho. At this time, there have been no reported detections of HPAI in Nebraska dairy cattle or other livestock.


In an effort to protect the dairy herd in Nebraska, NDA is issuing an importation order effective immediately. The importation order will require all breeding female dairy cattle entering the state of Nebraska to obtain a permit issued by NDA prior to entry. To obtain a permit, producers will need to contact the NDA at 402-471-2351. The new importation order will be in place for 30 days (until April 30, 2024) and will be re-evaluated at that time. More information is available on NDA’s website at nda.nebraska.gov/animal/imports.


“Animal health and disease control are essential to the livestock industry and health of Nebraska’s economy,” said NDA Director Sherry Vinton. “NDA is closely monitoring this HPAI illness in livestock. We will do what’s right to advocate for Nebraska producers, to protect the health of Nebraska livestock, and to minimize the impact HPAI will have on dairy producers in the state.”


“The health and safety of livestock in Nebraska is top priority,” said State Veterinarian Roger Dudley, DMV. “At this time, it appears the HPAI illness found in dairy operations in some states only affects lactating dairy cows and is not being seen in other segments of the cattle industry.


Now, more than ever, is the time to enhance biosecurity measures on farms and ranches to help protect livestock from illness.” NDA recommends adhering to strict biosecurity practices in operations and quarantining new animals into herds for 30 days, if possible. If dairy producers notice symptoms - acute sudden drop in milk production, changes in milk color/consistency, decreased feed intake, and other clinical signs, they should contact their herd veterinarian and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture immediately at 402-471-2351. The herd veterinarian will assess these animals and consult with NDA for additional steps.

In the dairy industry, there are many safeguards in place to ensure that milk and dairy products are safe to consume, so HPAI in dairy cattle does not possess a known risk to the public’s health. Pasteurized milk and dairy products are safe to consume due to routine testing and established protocols. Out of an abundance of caution, milk from ill cows is never allowed to enter the food supply.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption. Milk from impacted animals is diverted or destroyed so that it does not enter the food supply. In addition, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk, and pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce.


NDA is collaborating with producers, veterinarians, officials in other State Departments of Agriculture, the USDA, and industry partners like the Nebraska Dairy Association, and the Nebraska Cattlemen, to closely monitor the situation and put plans in place to protect Nebraska producers and their livestock. “There are a lot of discussions on the national level about this outbreak, and Nebraska is a part of those discussions,” said Dr. Dudley. “Understanding the details surrounding the transfer of the HPAI virus to livestock is an important part of the epidemiological investigation. While troubling, this outbreak does not currently threaten the lives of dairy cattle, and the pasteurization process continues to keep the milk supply safe. In Nebraska, we have communicated with dairy producers and veterinarians with the information we know, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.”
The HPAI virus detections in affected herds appears to have been introduced through exposure to infected wild birds. Further efforts to continue epidemiological investigations are underway to ensure a complete picture of the situation can be evaluated. The USDA has confirmed that HPAI does not seem to be passed cow-to-cow, but rather by wild birds carrying the disease and transmitting it and potential mechanical transmission of the virus.


While this new importation order prohibits breeding female dairy cattle from entering the state without a permit, individuals from Nebraska interested in transporting animals and animal
products to other states and countries should contact the destination state/country to learn about their import requirements before transporting animals.

(Nebraska Department of Agriculture)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Infection Reported in a Person in the U.S. - April 1, 2024

A person in the United States has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus (“H5N1 bird flu”), as reported by Texas and confirmed by CDC. This person had exposure to dairy cattle in Texas presumed to be infected with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses. The patient reported eye redness (consistent with conjunctivitis), as their only symptom, and is recovering. The patient was told to isolate and is being treated with an antiviral drug for flu. This infection does not change the H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which CDC considers to be low. However, people with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds or other animals (including livestock), or to environments contaminated by infected birds or other animals, are at greater risk of infection. CDC has interim recommendations for prevention, monitoring, and public health investigations of HPAI A(H5N1) viruses.

CDC is working with state health departments to continue to monitor workers who may have been in contact with infected or potentially infected birds/animals and test those people who develop symptoms. CDC also has recommendations for clinicians on monitoring, testing, and antiviral treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed avian influenza A virus infections.

This is the second person reported to have tested positive for influenza A(H5N1) viruses in the United States. A previous human case occurred in 2022 in Colorado. Human infections with avian influenza A viruses, including A(H5N1) viruses, are uncommon but have occurred sporadically worldwide. CDC has been monitoring for illness among people exposed to H5 virus-infected birds since outbreaks were first detected in U.S. wild birds and poultry in late 2021. Human illnesses with H5N1 bird flu have ranged from mild (e.g., eye infection, upper respiratory symptoms) to severe illness (e.g., pneumonia) that have resulted in death in other countries.

H5 bird flu is widespread among wild birds in the U.S. and globally. These viruses also have caused outbreaks in commercial and backyard poultry flocks, and sporadic infections in mammals. HPAI in dairy cows was first reported in Texas and Kansas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 25, 2024. Unpasteurized milk from sick cattle collected from two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas, as well as a throat swab from a cow in another dairy in Texas, tested positive for HPAI A(H5) viruses of the genetic clade 2.3.4.4b, which is the same clade that is widespread among birds globally. On March 29, 2024On March 29, 2024, USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed HPAI in a Michigan dairy herd that had recently received cows from Texas. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is providing regular updates on detections in dairy herds, as well as information on epidemiological findings and biosecurity guidance for farmers and veterinarians. Preliminary analysis of A(H5N1) viruses has not found changes that would make these viruses resistant to current FDA-approved flu antiviral medications, so these are believed to be effective against these viruses. Candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) developed against related clade 2.3.4.4b viruses are available for vaccine manufacturing if necessary and preliminary analysis indicates that they may provide reasonable protection against H5N1 influenza viruses. Seasonal flu vaccines do not provide protection against these viruses. Analysis of virus samples is ongoing.

CDC is working closely with state and federal agencies, including USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and local health authorities to further investigate and closely monitor this situation.

Prevention Measures

According to CDC’s interim recommendations, people should avoid unprotected exposures to sick or dead animals including wild birds, poultry, other domesticated birds, and other wild or domesticated animals (including cattle), as well as with animal carcasses, raw milk, feces (poop), litter, or materials contaminated by birds or other animals with confirmed or suspected HPAI A(H5N1)-virus infection. People should not prepare or eat uncooked or undercooked food or related uncooked food products, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, or products made from raw milk such as cheeses, from animals with confirmed or suspected HPAI A(H5N1)-virus infection (avian influenza or bird flu). Specific recommendations for farmers; poultry, backyard flock, and livestock owners; and worker protection are also available.

People exposed to birds or other animals with confirmed or suspected HPAI A(H5N1) virus infection should be monitored for any signs and symptoms of illness for 10 days after the last known exposure, including people wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional information on protective actions around birds, including what to do if you find a dead bird, is available on CDC’s website.

According to FDA and USDA, there are not concerns with the safety of the commercial milk supply at this time because products are pasteurized before entering the market. Dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption; milk from impacted animals is being diverted or destroyed so that it does not enter the human food supply. In addition, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce for human consumption. FDA’s longstanding position is that unpasteurized, raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to consumers, and FDA is reminding consumers of the risks associated with raw milk consumption in light of the HPAI detections.

CDC continues to work with USDA, FDA, and state health departments to monitor people exposed to animals infected with HPAI A(H5N1) viruses. Because influenza viruses constantly change, continued surveillance and preparedness efforts are critical, and CDC is taking measures in case the public health risk assessment changes. This is a developing situation, and CDC will share additional updates as new relevant information becomes available.

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

USDA, FDA, and CDC Share Update on HPAI Detections in Dairy Cattle - March 29, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state veterinary and public health officials, are continuing to investigate an illness among dairy cows that is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms.

On Monday, March 25, the agencies confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two dairy herds in Texas and two dairy herds in Kansas that had cattle exhibiting these symptoms.   

USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has now also confirmed the presence of HPAI in a Michigan dairy herd that had recently received cows from Texas. Presumptive positive test results have also been received for additional herds in New Mexico, Idaho, and Texas; USDA will share updates if those tests are confirmed positive by NVSL. Federal and state agencies continue to conduct additional testing in swabs from sick animals and in unpasteurized clinical milk samples from sick animals, as well as viral genome sequencing, to assess whether HPAI or another unrelated illness may be underlying any symptoms

The NVSL has also confirmed that the strain of the virus found in Michigan is very similar to the strain confirmed in Texas and Kansas that appears to have been introduced by wild birds (H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade 2.3.4.4b).  Initial testing has not found changes to the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans. While cases among humans in direct contact with infected animals are possible, this indicates that the current risk to the public remains low.

Spread of symptoms among the Michigan herd also indicates that HPAI transmission between cattle cannot be ruled out; USDA and partners continue to monitor this closely and have advised veterinarians and producers to practice good biosecurity, test animals before necessary movements, minimize animal movements, and isolate sick cattle from the herd. Among the dairies whose herds are exhibiting symptoms, the affected animals have recovered after isolation with little to no associated mortality reported. 

There continues to be no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply because products are pasteurized before entering the market, or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health. Dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption; milk from impacted animals is being diverted or destroyed so that it does not enter the human food supply. In addition, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce for human consumption. FDA’s longstanding position is that unpasteurized, raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to consumers, and FDA is reminding consumers of the risks associated with raw milk consumption in light of the HPAI detections.

Because of the limited information available about the transmission of HPAI in raw milk, the FDA recommends that industry does not manufacture or sell raw milk or raw/unpasteurized milk cheese products made with milk from cows showing symptoms of illness, including those infected with avian influenza or exposed to those infected with avian influenza.  At this time, the FDA is not aware that any milk or food product from symptomatic cows is entering interstate commerce.  Furthermore, if milk from cows showing symptoms of illness, including those infected with avian influenza or exposed to those infected with avian influenza is intended to be used to feed calves, FDA strongly encourages that it be heat treated to kill harmful bacteria or viruses, such as influenza, before calf feeding. Food safety information from FDA, including information about the sale and consumption of raw milk, can be found here

Milk loss resulting from symptomatic cattle to date is too limited to have a major impact on supply and there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products. Further, the U.S. typically has a more than sufficient milk supply in the spring months due to seasonally higher production.

Federal agencies are also working with state and industry partners to encourage farmers and veterinarians to report cattle illnesses quickly so that we can monitor potential additional cases and minimize the impact and risk to farmers, farmworkers, consumers and other animals. Producers are urged to work with their veterinarian to report cattle illnesses quickly and practice enhanced biosecurity measures. More information on biosecurity measures can be found here

 

FDA: Questions and Answers Regarding Milk Safety During Highly Pathogenic Avian Influence (HPAI) Outbreaks - March 29, 2024

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is closely working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state partners to investigate an illness among older dairy cows in Texas, Kansas, and Michigan that is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms.

As of Friday, March 29, the agencies confirmed the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two dairy herds in Texas, two dairy herds in Kansas and one dairy her in Michigan that had recently received cows from Texas. HPAI was detected in unpasteurized samples of milk and swabs taken for diagnosis of sick cattle on the dairy farms in Texas, Kansas and Michigan. Testing is also underway for two herds in New Mexico and two additional herds in Texas. These samples were submitted as part of an investigation into illness among primarily older dairy cows that is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms. However, these detections are also appearing in some younger lactating cows. Testing is underway for additional dairy herds in New Mexico, Texas, and Idaho which have cows exhibiting similar signs of illness.   

 At this time, there continues to be no concern about the safety of the interstate commercial milk supply because products are pasteurized before entering the market, or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health.

Only milk from heathy animals is authorized for distribution into interstate commerce for human consumption. Additionally, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce. Milk from impacted animals is being diverted or destroyed so that it does not enter the human food supply.  Milk loss resulting from symptomatic cattle to date is too limited to have a major impact on supply and there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products. The FDA will continue to work with our partners and provide updates as necessary.

More information about the detections, as well as information about biosecurity measures producers can take to protect their animals from HPAI is available at USDA, FDA and CDC Share Update on HPAI Detections in Dairy Cattle | USDA-APHIS

 

 

Idaho Farm Bureau Statement - March 29, 2024

The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation expresses its appreciation to the Idaho Department of Agriculture, their scientists, lab technicians, veterinarians, and field staff for their work on the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI). Officials have indicated that current test findings show no food safety issues and that the commercial milk and beef supply remains safe.

 

 

Idaho State Department of Agriculture Release - March 28, 2024

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected in Idaho Cattle

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), has identified highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a Cassia County dairy cattle operation.

These are the first cases of HPAI in a dairy operation in Idaho. The affected facility recently imported cattle from another state that had previously identified cases of HPAI in cattle.

It is suggested the virus may be transmitted from cow-to-cow, in addition to previous reports indicating cattle were acquiring the virus from infected birds.

The primary concern with this diagnosis is on-dairy production losses, as the disease has been associated with decreased milk production.

 

Symptoms of HPAI in cattle include: 

    • Drop in milk production 
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Changes in manure consistency 
    • Thickened or colostrum-like milk 
    • Low-grade fever 

ISDA Response 

The ISDA has placed a quarantine on the positive facility, meaning no livestock are permitted to enter or exit the infected premises. This is an open case, ISDA is continuing to investigate via additional sampling.

The infected cattle are being quarantined from the rest of the herd on the facility. Pasteurized milk from affected cows does not present a human health concern, and the cows on the dairy will continue to produce milk and all animals will be cared for normally.  

This is an evolving situation, and additional updates will be provided by ISDA as they become available. 

 

What Livestock Producers Can Do

    • Enhance biosecurity measures (see below information below). 
    • Closely monitor your herd for the following symptoms: 
      • Fever 
      • Lethargy 
      • Loss of appetite 
      • Constipation 
      • Thickened or colostrum-like milk 
      • Decreased milk production 

If your cattle appear to be infected: 

  1. Contact your local veterinarian immediately.
  2. After talking with your veterinarian, fill out the HPAI Livestock Screen.
  3. Once the screen is submitted, an ISDA veterinarian will review the screen to determine if ISDA assistance is needed. Direct assistance from ISDA will be dependent on the severity and size of the herd as well as the availability of ISDA veterinarians.