USDA updates information related to H5N1 detections in dairy Sarah Gonzalez April 18, 2024

USDA updates information related to H5N1 detections in dairy

By David Fairfield, Senior Vice President, Feed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) this week made a revised Frequently Asked Questions document available related to detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in dairy cows. Among other topics, the document provides information on potential vectors for virus transmission, recommendations for cattle movement, signs of illness, and recommended biosecurity practices.

As of April 18, USDA has confirmed the detection of H5N1 in dairy cattle in eight states – South Dakota, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, New Mexico, Idaho, Kansas and Ohio. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 1 reported that a person in Texas has tested positive for H5N1 virus, but also expressed in the report that the health risk for H5N1 for the general public is low.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to affirm the safety of the milk supply. The agency on its website states, “The FDA does not currently have concerns about the safety or availability of pasteurized milk products nationwide. Pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza viruses, in milk and is required for any milk entering interstate commerce. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates on our website if necessary.”

USDA, CDC and FDA have made available the following information and resources related to the H5N1 outbreak and biosecurity practices.