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Cases of bird flu in US livestock spread to 6 states – El Sol de México

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that have spread cases of bird flu originating in Texas herds to other cows in Ohio, New Mexico, Michigan and Idaho. The strain of bird flu found in these states is very similar to that confirmed in the initial cases in Texas and Kansas, which appear to have been introduced by wild birds, according to the USDA.

Experts noted that feces or other materials from infected wild birds could have contaminated feed or water ingested by cows at dairy farms, although this has not been confirmed.

The USDA said it could not rule out transmission of the disease among livestock.. In Michigan, the dairy herd that tested positive had recently received cows from Texas, according to the agency.

Following the outbreaks, Mexico, a major U.S. beef and dairy market, said it is increasing surveillance and beefing up inspections of U.S. livestock imports.

Avian flu has primarily affected older cows at infected dairies, and “only a small portion of each herd exhibits clinical signs,” the USDA said in an email. The agency added that it has not received reports of cattle showing clinical signs of illness or cattle samples for testing for bird flu.

“Why dairy cattle and not beef? “Everyone is wondering,” said Michael Kleinhenz, a veterinarian and associate clinical professor of dairy cattle health at Texas A&M University.

Migration of waterfowl, virus carriers

Migratory waterfowl are to blame for increasing bird flu outbreaks in Texas cows and poultry, and wild birds carrying the virus should soon head north, state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said.

Since last week, the United States government has reported cases of the disease in seven Texas dairy herds and in a person who was in contact with cows, making it the state most affected by the first outbreaks in national history in livestock. Texas is the largest producer of beef cattle in the country.

Cases in dairy cows and the second human case in two years in the United States renewed concern about the virus, which since 2022 infects poultry flocks and a growing number of other species around the world.

A positive test at a Texas egg farm led egg producer Cal-Maine to slaughter 1.6 million laying hens, the company reported on Tuesday. Texas has never before experienced such a significant outbreak at a commercial poultry facility, Miller said.

“This is spread by waterfowl,” he said in an interview. “We are ready for the ducks to head north to their nesting areas,” he added.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) first reported on March 25 that a cow and milk from two Texas dairies had tested positive for bird flu, along with milk from two dairies. of Kansas.

Risk to humans is low

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that the risk of bird flu for humans is low. The Texas patient’s only symptom was eye inflammation, according to the state health department.

President Joe Biden has been informed of the bird flu situation, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre stated at a press conference on Wednesday.

Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, He said testing for influenza in livestock is not routine and that it was important to establish the connection between the disease in cows and farm ducks and cats.

“Some smart people made the link and tested them for the flu,” said Webby, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds.

The Texas outbreak may have started about a month ago, when a mysterious illness affected about 40 percent of the state’s dairy herds, according to Miller. He now suspects it was bird flu, although authorities did not know this at the time, and cannot confirm it because the animals recovered.

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