GLC Agronomy

Michigan Ag News Headlines
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Identified in Idaho and Michigan Dairy Cattle
Michigan Ag Connection - 04/01/2024

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) announced today that they have also confirmed the presence of HPAI in a Michigan dairy herd that recently received cows from Texas. USDA APHIS also shared that they have presumptive positive samples from New Mexico, Idaho, Ohio, and Texas.

According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, cattle from a premise in Idaho have tested positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

HPAI historically infects birds but has been documented to infect mammals such as cats, skunks, and foxes. Based on the recent findings from Michigan USDA announced the virus is very similar to the viruses found in Texas and Kansas and reiterated the virus appears to have been introduced by wild birds.

According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), the situation with their premise suggests the virus may have been transmitted from cow to cow. This is based on the dairy recently importing cattle from another state that has had cattle test positive for HPAI. According to USDA, the Michigan herd with confirmed HPAI presence recently received cattle from Texas. USDA stated that cow-to-cow transmission cannot be ruled out.

Pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) longstanding position is that unpasteurized, raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to consumers. FDA is reminding consumers of the risks associated with raw milk consumption in light of the HPAI detections.

USDA stated that initial testing has not found changes to the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans and that while cases among humans in direct contact with infected animals are possible, this indicates that the current risk to the public remains low.

If you work directly with cattle that have tested positive or fit the case profile and you experience flu-like symptoms, please consult your physician. Human cases of influenza must be confirmed with testing; they cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone.

USDA and federal agencies are moving quickly to conduct additional testing for HPAI, as well as additional viral genome sequencing, to better understand the situation, including characterization of the HPAI strain or strains associated with these detections.

Veterinarians working with potentially impacted farms should consult with state health officials and their diagnostic laboratories to ensure they follow established diagnostic sampling guidelines.

At this time, impacted herds do not appear to be experiencing mortalities associated with this disease syndrome. In impacted herds, approximately 10% of cattle are affected, with the majority of cases being mid to late-lactation mature cows. Impacted herds are experiencing approximately 10 to 20% reduction in milk production for a 14- to 21-day period. At this time, dry cows, fresh cows, heifers, and calves do not appear to be affected.

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